Kenneth “Kenny Bird” Jackson spoke out Friday, issuing a 950-word statement denouncing a cooperating defendant in the Gun Trace Task Force case who testified a day earlier that he and Baltimore Police Sgt. Wayne Jenkins once stole money from Jackson.
Jackson’s name is well known in Baltimore. For years, he managed the Eldorado Lounge strip club and was well connected in politics. Prior to that, his name was repeatedly tied to allegations about the city’s drug trade, and he is said to be partial inspiration for the Stringer Bell character in “The Wire.”
Bail bondsman and admitted drug dealer Donald C. Stepp testified Thursday that Jenkins supplied him for years with drugs taken off the streets and they split the profits.
During defense questioning, Stepp said Jenkins also identified high-stakes targets, who they tracked and stole from. Stepp testified that they tracked Jackson’s silver Acura to a Sam’s Club parking lot, and stole between $12,000 to $19,000 from the car.
Stepp also said they tracked Jackson to a home, and said Jenkins, wearing a mask and gloves, broke in and stole four pounds of marijuana.
In his statement, Jackson said no such break-ins occurred: “I’ve never been robbed, especially by some rat punk like him.”
Jackson said he never owned a silver Acura, and if anyone had broken into his home they would not have “been able to escape my highly-trained dogs.”
“How could they offer a deal to this guy when he told a big bold face lie on someone he don’t know and they not check it out first?” Jackson said in the statement. “The government should cancel his deal and send him to prison with no breaks.”
Jackson said his name is being invoked due to his reputation. In 1985, Jackson was identified in federal court affidavits as a lieutenant in the Baltimore drug ring headed by Melvin D. "Little Melvin" Williams, and he was said to be a rival of Maurice “Peanut” King, whose multimillion-dollar organization was among the city’s largest at the time. Jackson was acquitted of charges that he initiated the 1981 drug war for control of the Lafayette Court project, and he was acquitted of murder charges in 1991.
“Yes, I have matters in my past from over 30 years ago that I will never shy away from because I recognized my errors and have worked steadily to regain my family’s proud name,” Jackson said.
Stepp began cooperating with the government after being arrested in Baltimore County on drug charges in December. In proffer sessions with prosecutors, he outlined his crimes with Jenkins. He had photos on his phone that corroborated some of his accounts.
Prosecutors did not ask him on the stand about his claims regarding Jackson, which were instead elicited by the defense attorney for Detective Daniel Hersl, William Purpura, who seemed incredulous that Stepp would have robbed Jackson. Stepp said he didn’t know who Jackson or the other targets were.
On the stand, Stepp testified that Jenkins told him Jackson was “one of the biggest drug dealers in Baltimore.” He also identified another man who they targeted for a robbery that Jenkins said was “the biggest drug lord” in the city.
“I never get involved with other peoples problems, but they made it my problem accusing me of selling drugs at 60 years old,” Jackson said. “But this time the liar could send someone to jail, for life. If he lied on me, more than likely he’s lying on the police, too. This man heard my name from somewhere and used it to help make his story.”
“This is a basic plan for rats: They sell information to get a break. Nothing is too low for them to do. They will use whatever they have drugs, robbing, kidnapping or killing to prevent themselves as the guilty ones from getting caught. If the law does catch up with them, then they beg for a deal and end up turning on their partners in crime. This rat got some kind of deal, so he must tell the truth. But he lied on me.
Jackson said he’s “no fan of the police, but thank god we have some good ones.”
“The city could do much better handling crime if they decided to hire good people and train them to be cops instead of hiring thugs just wanting to have cop powers and hoping they are good people,” Jackson said.