Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wired Informant Takes Stand Men Discussed Shooting of Clairton Officer

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wired Informant Takes Stand Men Discussed Shooting of Clairton Officer

Article excerpt

A man who agreed to work as a police informant to get out from under criminal charges testified Friday that he tried to get his friend to talk about his involvement in the shooting of Clairton police Officer James Kuzak last year.

"Did anyone tell you what to say?" asked Paul Gettleman, the defense attorney for Emilio Rivera.

"No. I was told to bring up the situation," said the man.

So that's what he did.

The informant, who wore a wire during his conversation with his friend, was hanging out with Mr. Rivera on Oct. 24 when he told his friend he had killed people. The man is a cooperating witness whose name is being withheld for his protection in the case.

"So, listen I swear to God this is not something I would tell anybody," the witness said during the recorded conversation with Mr. Rivera. "I know secrets of yours, I'm going to tell you a secret of mine. I murdered [people] in my time, dog."

But, he goes on to say that he wasn't "down with shooting a cop."

The conversation continued, and Mr. Rivera said a short time later, "I couldn't believe that that [stuff] even happened like that, that night man. I couldn't believe it, bro. You know what I'm saying?" Mr. Rivera, 27, said in the recording.

"You had to do what you had to do to get ... out of the situation dog," the informant said.

"Right," Mr. Rivera replied.

Later, when the informant said it must have been scary, Mr. Rivera replied, "Yeah, they was already there banging on the door and [stuff] ... I opened the door and looked out and oh, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! I told my bro man, this what we got to do to come up out of this. I did it man ... I can't go back to jail, you know what I'm saying?"

Mr. Gettleman asked him if he had ever "puffed up" stories he told to make himself seem more tough. The witness agreed that he had.

"You don't know if what Mr. Rivera was saying was talking [stuff], do you?" Mr. Gettleman asked.

Before the witness could answer, a prosecution objection was sustained by Common Pleas Judge Edward J. …

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