Key witness in conviction of Brooklyn drug lord says his testimony was coerced by disgraced former detective


BROOKLYN — A Brooklyn drug lord has been behind bars for decades, but one of the key witnesses whose testimony put him in prison said he only testified because he was pressured by a now disgraced former NYPD detective.

Samuel “Baby Sam” Edmonson hopes to have his conviction overturned. His lawyer pointed to former detective Louis Scarcella‘s role in the case; Scarcella has been accused of framing innocent people for crimes they did not commit. In recent years, 15 convictions Scarcella helped secure were overturned.

Keith Christmas, the witness who helped send Edmonson to prison, said he never saw Edmonson commit murder. Christmas said he lied under oath in 1990, after detective Scarcella and his partner promised Christmas a reduced sentence in his own case.

“I was completely under coercion and duress,” Christmas said.

Scarcella on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing in the Edmonson investigation.

According to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, Edmonson was the head of a violent ,multi-million dollar drug ring that sold crack from Bed-Stuy to Brownsville. Edmonson was convicted in 1990 for two murders and for running a criminal enterprise.

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