Don’t Lock Up HBO Producer for Deadly Drug Binge

David Simon, creator of the drug-crime drama The Wire, performed a task in a real-life crime case final week when he requested a choose to be lenient on an HBO colleague convicted in a lethal drug case.

Producer Marc Henry Johnson pleaded responsible in March for his involvement in a girl’s deadly overdose in New York two years in the past. Johnson moved Kiersten Cerveny’s physique out of his drug supplier’s Manhattan condo earlier than calling the police. Johnson is going through as much as 10 years in jail for the crime of accent after the very fact.

Simon, who employed Johnson to work on his upcoming HBO present, The Duce, wrote a letter to the choose forward of Johnson’s sentencing the place he stated the person doesn’t should be put behind bars.

Simon stated his expertise as a Baltimore crime reporter and his work on TV exhibits like Murder makes him certified to weigh in on the case.

“I spent a yr contained in the Baltimore Police Division’s murder unit to put in writing one guide, and on a West Baltimore nook, in an open-air drug market, to put in writing a second,” Simon instructed the choose. “I’m conscious about how problematic it’s to wage a coverage of drug prohibition whereas on the identical time retaining the cooperation of any neighborhood being so closely policed.”

Although the incident was a tragedy, Simon stated Johnson doesn’t should go to jail.

“All of us are singularly accountable for what substances we use or abuse and the way we stay our lives,” Simon wrote. “Marc is accountable, as was Cerveny, for whom the usage of alcohol and medicines was voluntary. I urge you to contemplate leniency with regard to the defendant.”

Johnson left his condo at three a.m. on October four, 2015 for KGB bar in Manhattan. That’s the place he met up with Cerveny, a 38-year-old dermatologist and mom of three from Lengthy Island. The 2 got here to the condo of James Holder, Johnson’s pal, later that morning. Johnson was excessive on marijuana and cocaine when he stated he fell asleep.

Johnson woke as much as discover Cerveny experiencing the signs of an overdose, based on a sentencing request. Johnson dragged her unconscious physique out of the condo and down the steps earlier than calling 911 and leaving her within the foyer exterior Holder’s condo when EMS arrived, the indictment stated. It was “the most important mistake of his life, and one he’ll perpetually remorse,” Johnson stated in an announcement from his lawyer.

Cerveny was pronounced useless of a drug overdose shortly after.

Johnson was later arrested by the Drug Enforcement Company and charged by federal prosecutors tried narcotics distribution and accent after the very fact for transferring Cerveny’s physique.  

“Johnson’s quick response to seeing a dying overdose sufferer ought to have been to summon assist.  As a substitute, Johnson helped his cocaine supplier cowl up the drug crime by transferring the sufferer’s physique,” U.S. Legal professional Joon Kim stated in an announcement in after Johnson pled responsible March. ““As a substitute, Johnson helped his cocaine supplier cowl up the drug crime by transferring the sufferer’s physique.”

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His pals and lawyer see that night time in another way. In an announcement, pal William Pitman recounted a dialog with Johnson the day Cerveny died.

“I acquired a phone name from Marc and we spoke at size. Marc was devastated and overwhelmed with unhappiness and ache. He was confused, in a state of disbelief and inconsolable,” the assertion reads. “Marc was in a state of shock and his regret and grief had been heartfelt.”

Different pals who wrote letters asking the choose to not give Johnson jail time embrace actress Jamie Neumann, PBS Government Producer Julie Anderson and “Hidden Figures” Manufacturing Designer Wynn Thomas.

The request, submitted to a federal courtroom in Manhattan, contains statements from his therapist, who stated Johnson suffers from “despair and grief points associated to the underlying crime.” The request additionally describes Johnson’s work and his African American heritage, which he says “is the voice I do know and provides me a novel perspective.” Johnson’s lawyer says he has not used medicine because the incident.

U.S. lawyer Joon Kim stated on Friday in response to Johnson’s request for a lighter sentencing witnesses noticed Cerveny consuming a dangerously great amount of cocaine, and that Johnson prioritized his pal’s need to cowl up a drug crime over Cerveny’s life.

“Johnson’s determination to assist Holder drag [Cerveny]’s unresponsive physique to the first-floor vestibule earlier than summoning assist was not simply obstructionist; it was merciless,” Joon Kim wrote in a response submitted to the choose. “Each second that elapsed between [Cerveny]’s overdose and Johnson’s name for an ambulance was a misplaced alternative to attempt to save a 38-year-old mom of three.”

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