tv Book Discussion on Being Oscar CSPAN July 27, 2016 8:55pm-9:18pm EDT
factor in the union activist also a co-founder of the black trade union in in in this photo she was a speaker and a co-founder of the first coalition that had the first convention hearing in chicago over 3,000 women attended and she appears in the opening address. >> when do you see yourself finishing her papers? >> hopefully this year we like to have that photograph collection fully processed before that happens. it goes up to the early 1000's.
anything if i were blocked in the door after passed the bar one of the first counters sending as $25 of wheat we couldn't use it for rent and had to be for pleasure it was set up hacienda hotel. so we would take whatever we had leftover to playback -- blackjack so i would stand behind her chest like i do as we are conversing with each other. i spoke to the dealer. . .
and his brother had been arrested, and he wanted to know who's the best criminal lawyer in las vegas. nothing changes over the years. the fellow that lifted up the phone said who's the best criminal in las vegas and he said call oscar and that's how it all started. i represented the brother and i could try to case a thousand times and lucid 999 times. at that point when somebody got arrested is connected with the mob, call oscar. >> what was that like trying the first case?
>> i went the morning of the trial and i said i don't want a jury. this is a legal case for the judge to decide. she said i will ask the judge. the jury has been summoned. it was all over the second step and i went back to my office and said we are back to the butchery and try the case. the jury went out to deliberate in the closing argument and my client's brother, the alleged mobster walking back to the office in the federal courthouse says is it better if they jury takes a long time or short time and i said the longer they take the better. we walk into my office, the phone is ringing and the jury has a verdict. you can imagine how i felt. they felt so sorry for me that
they came back with not guilty. >> what were some of the crazy cases? i was involved in the first wiretap. the two fellows that were bookmakers would call in las vegas to get the sports information. they were all indicted and i was hired to represent us. they were not recognizing my client's name was an incidental figure. i give you a severance because we haven't mentioned his name. the other lawyers said why don't
you stick around and help us with this case. so i stayed there and they were all found guilty but the word went out and he won the case. it has nothing to do with winning the case but after that on december 121970, 26 cities were greeted. because i ha have more than one case i had all of the papers strewn around the office and one of my clients look at this don't bother me, i'm working. don't bother me. he said you're going to want to see this. the wiretap has to be authorized by the attorney general or one of my assistant attorney general's. even though the board has the same name that was different.
so the attorney general in the united states and by law he was smug smoking his pipe and he finally said you're right. we didn't authorize this properly therefore i was the lawyer expert for the united states. >> how familiar were you before coming to las vegas? >> i was raised in a very conservative environment. the only way that i step out of bounds is some lowlife came onto the school grounds. it's virtually impossible and you've got a dollar back or something like that.
that's the only contact i had that even resembled crime. >> is there any case that came to you that said no i can't? >> most of them got a no. you have to understand people said when i became the mayor this has to be tough. compared to what i needed to makdid to make aliving and pracl law, this is a cakewalk. i never saw my client a band. again. they went away forever. if i made a mistake i would put it back on the agenda. so instead of sweating all night long and having a wife an went i slept like a baby as mayor. >> did you say in the midst of defending these mobsters -- they were being targeted by the
federal government. >> in my opinion, and i don't know if it happens today or not i haven't been practicing in my license for a lot of different reasons. i'm not actively in the courtroom. i thought of many of the federal prosecutors the state wasn't that bad but the federal prosecutors played a game where the end justified the means and they wanted my clients so bad they would do anything to get them. i can't think of a case where everybody says he's always saying the same thing where i didn't catch an agent in a lie and i tried the government in my case. i could talk a lot better than they could and they were not prose.
the government overstepped its bounds and the way that i defended the cases by making sure in the amendment in the prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures and didn't engage in the prosecutorial misconduct. talking about the big shots there was a fellow whose name i'm going to give you his name because he became a friend of mine, he was a reputed heroine dealer and he was a fellow to talk about an african-american to try to characterize them.
they went back to the airport to meet a fellow that is coming in and supposed to be getting money to this fellow. he was ultimately arrested and we had a hearing in federal court there were the law enforcement people. the first guy gets on the stand and raises his hand and says i swear to tell the truth, the whole truth so help me god they went up to the car and said would you be kind enough to roll down the window.
then went back to my office and said to one of the associates we know the flight number, we know the airline. find out who the pilot was. what do you mind coming down and telling the judge what you saw that today. i will buy you dinner, okay. they put cuffs behind his back, they started kicking him, they went in and took the key, went to the truck, opened it up and d decided bingo.
you're under arrest. it was like miami vice. that was the most egregious story into the. >> while you were defending these people what makes you want to start to get into politics? >> i have tried all these cases. this is and why i became a lawyer and represent people the way i do, i did it because i believe in what i do. i made money as a byproduct. we were on a cruise in the caribbean in 1998 and i said to my wife you know, i'm going to do something different. i'm going to run for mayor. we have a pretty democratic family and take a vote on
anything that affects one another. as the mayor making $40,000 in those days they were going to take a hit. we had the vote and they voted against me. while there were no outstanding college loans. there's no way you can win. you have more baggage in the airport but they were wrong and they are not allowed to put up a line at least in those days on the politics. this works folks -- the sports folks in london i have to tell you a funny story. the day after the election i go back to my office and there were two messages in particular. one at 5:00 for president clinton congratulating me for being the mayor and the fastest growing city at 5:00 that came in at 5:05, the dealer that i
represented congratulated me. >> were you concerned at all in their reputation with the alleged mob did that come out at all? >> he had cartoons of people holding needles and condoms and that was supposed to be me representing all of them. they tried to say because i represented these alleged mobsters that somehow i was doing something bad. i thought i was defending everything good about the country. it all came together when i would knock on doors and campaign. i went up to one early on and there was a woman that answered
the door. she has a bathrobe on in her hair in curlers and she says guest who is out here, the mafia lawyer. so that was it for me. i had no problem. >> blood for your problems? >> it was tough to have a platform. i wanted an honest guy i would do his best and make sure the constituents were protected in the same way that i protect my clients. the first day everything comes into focus on the same streets i walked for years. when you walk as the mayor, same eyeglasses you see they are cracked, you can see grass coming up, you see the town that
is in a state of malaise but nothing is happening. so my whole point i said i'm going to create a renaissance and give them vitality. no problem, what i have done my whole life is to send people who were in trouble. a friend of mine who wasn't a friend at the time who was a very vocal opponent of mine running came up to me and said you are trying to do a good job i'm going to let bygones be bygones. he was the president of a major real estate firm. i need somebody to give me a course. the ceo of a major firm from baltimore in th the seaport new york these were first-class developers and they spent an hour with me and after i poured my heart out they said you can't
do it. they said you need land. when i went home that night i was distraught. i had a busy life as a lawyer. there was a piece of land at the old railroad site. i called up the ceo and i said i want to buy the railroad site. called them again, not for sale. i said everything is for sale. there's 61 acres in the site and it's owned by lehman brothers. i said you've got 2561 acres and