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Judge allows drug-dealing testimony in 'Squad' trial

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 23. 2018 8:11PM
Alleged leader of The Squad Brandon Griffin arrives a hearing at Hillsborough Superior Court North in Manchester last week. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER/file)

MANCHESTER — A Hillsborough County judge has ruled to allow testimony about drug-dealing by the Manchester street gang “the Squad” when purported leader Brandon Griffin goes to trial on drug charges.

The ruling complicates matters for Griffin, 30, who had been scheduled to face trial on four felony drug charges involving fentanyl, crack cocaine, cocaine and Suboxone in the coming weeks. On Monday, his lawyers postponed jury selection, which delays a trial for months.

Last week, Griffin’s lawyers warned the trial would be delayed if they had to prepare for testimony involving the Squad.

In a recent ruling, Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown decided that a jury could hear about Griffin, the Squad and their alleged connection to drug dealing. But Brown ruled out any mention of allegations involving prostitution, human trafficking, assault or second degree murder.

Brown wrote that he “fails to see the relevance (sic) nexus between the Squad’s alleged use and abuse of women through prostitution and defendant’s intent to sell drugs he possessed in June 2017.”

Prosecutors have said they will call four witnesses to testify about the Squad during the trial. Griffin faces 20 to 40 years in state prison if convicted.

Recent court filings have outlined efforts by members of the Squad to rule the drug and prostitution trade in Manchester in 2015 and 2016. Court filings said women had their hair and face cut, gang members fired guns at the houses of rivals, and a man who broke off from the gang was shot and killed.

Prosecutors have said that Griffin was the leader of the gang. Last month, he was indicted on an additional 96 felony charges including assault, witness tampering, intimidation, attempted murder and conspiracy.

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