Sal Speaks

"It is absurd," says Jeffrey Weiner, a criminal defense attorney who represented one of Falc centsn and Magluta's co-defendants and who is a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "It is absolutely a disgraceful situation when people have to show ID to go into a public courtroom. This has nothing to do with security. They just want to know who is in the courtroom watching the trial. The DEA is getting these names every night and putting them in their intelligence files. It's wrong, and I am surprised Judge Moreno is allowing it."

DEA spokesman Jim Shedd refuses to discuss the matter, saying it is not appropriate for him to comment during an ongoing trial.

Each day in court, the trial draws curious onlookers. For opening statements, people were waiting in line to get in. Sitting in the hallway unable to find a seat in the courtroom that day was Magluta's wife Isabel. "I don't know who most of these people are," she whispered. "With Willy and Sal, people just come here to look at them, like they are on display. I guess they want to be able to tell their friends that they saw them."

As the crowds have dissipated over time, Falc centsn's and Magluta's families have remained a constant in the gallery. The prosecutors contend that the families not only knew about the pair's drug-smuggling exploits, but that they financially prospered because of them. "My family keeps a lot of faith," counters Magluta. "Regardless of what people think, my family is a Christian family. We leave it in God's hands. He knows the reason why things happen in life.

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