Billy Rittenhouse Square nightclub owner Billy Darr sentenced to 10 years in prison for gun, drug case

UPDATE: The verdict has been read, and Moncrief was found guilty of attempted murder and carrying a gun in the commission of a crime. ORIGINAL POST: Jurors are back in Philadelphia federal court for…

Billy Rittenhouse Square nightclub owner Billy Darr sentenced to 10 years in prison for gun, drug case

UPDATE: The verdict has been read, and Moncrief was found guilty of attempted murder and carrying a gun in the commission of a crime.

ORIGINAL POST: Jurors are back in Philadelphia federal court for the second day of a retrial of Billy Rittenhouse Square nightclub owner Billy Darr. Darr, 48, is charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and illegal gun possession stemming from a 2009 conviction. In 2010, a second jury found him not guilty of all charges. After accepting legal instructions from U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner on Thursday, the panel of six men and six women deliberated a little over two hours before adjourning. Thursday’s questioning focused on Rittenhouse Square attorney Paul Abadi, a broker for attorney Shane Tylstra. Abadi testified that he accompanied Tylstra when the gun Darr admitted to having in 2009 was pawned, but told Conner he didn’t necessarily believe that the second trial was over. Conner told jurors on Thursday that the case relied on technical issues. Tylstra had told jurors that he intended to clear the street of drug dealers and had argued that the 2009 conviction was part of a plot hatched by police and prosecutors. Prosecutors argued that the verdict was a defeat for defendants and police officers who were eager to crack down on illegal activity at the now-shuttered club, but what matters is what happened inside, they said. Darr says he’s innocent and blames police for intimidating witnesses. One witness was charged but convicted in the criminal case. In the retrial, the case focused on the concept of “lying by omission,” a legal term for intentionally not telling the truth when lying is required. Darr testified that he would lie when police were investigating him because he was terrified they’d take him into custody for any reason. “I never should have gone outside with an illegal gun,” Darr said, according to an NBC 10 interview published on Thursday. “I regret that.” Abadi said the gun was found in the street outside the nightclub, after Darr and his son thought they had pawned it, but they had the gun on a case in the club’s vault. “There’s two possibilities,” Abadi told the jury. “That whatever’s in the vault was hidden from police by his wife and his son, or Billy went outside with it, and no one saw him take the gun, so that no one would have feared he’d get arrested and they’d get involved.” According to the Associated Press, Abadi told the jury that Darr never reported the gun discovery to police, and that he didn’t lie to them. “I mean, how could he forget a gun? He must’ve seen it,” Abadi said. Darr, he said, only told police that he sold the gun “in a small zigzag pattern” to a pawn shop. The firearms were recovered on 7 April, 2009, when the club, known as BK Square, was raided by police and ICE. (The other outlets that sent reporters to the courtroom for the second time were the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News, the Daily Beast and NBC 10.) Police said they found numerous controlled drugs and drug paraphernalia. In addition to aiding police in its investigation, Tylstra testified that he tried to reassure patrons after the raid to insure the area was safe. Abadi asked jurors if he had participated in what he alleged was “police framing.” Judge Conner asked if Darr had been told to be more “relaxed” when telling Tylstra about the details of the investigation. Abadi answered that the interview was “just an ordinary conversation” and that he didn’t remember saying that statement to Darr. Prosecutors argued that Darr was targeting Tylstra for his work representing patrons who were harassed by police, not the violent street drug deals they claimed he was working against.

Leave a Comment