Many prosecutors will tell you there is often a moment in a big case or a piece of evidence they see that can illustrate an entire investigation; in the case of a corrupt gun unit in the Baltimore Police Department, it was not so much the actual crooked acts as the tools of them.
"The grappling hook,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Hines said, “That was sort of, well that and all the other tools, the machete, the mask, the BB guns, the things they were carrying in the vehicle. When we found that out on March 1st when the arrests happened and the vehicles were searched we were sort of in shock."
That was the moment both federal prosecutors began to realize the scope of criminal behavior for the eight Baltimore Police Officers of the Gun Trace Task Force; a ring of corruption that only widened as they prepared for trial.
"It just kept getting worse in ways that I think we never could have anticipated,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise said, “And so we followed the facts where ever they led and I was surprised again and again and again by what we found."
And then surprised again to hear it all in open court.
Both prosecutors obviously knew all the facts but as their case progressed, they watched them become very public; cracking open the darkest corner of the BPD to put it all on display.
"You can know what the facts will be but when they are actually said out loud in a courtroom, the effects can be profound," Wise said.
Effects they hope can ultimately have a positive effect.
"I hope that it restores faith in the criminal justice system,” Hines said, “That there is a body out there, our office, the Department of Justice that will be the final arbiter to make sure that justice is served."
But even still, there were many questions not answered in this landmark trial.
Slain homicide Detective Sean Suiter's name came up only fueling more theories about his death but it was not a topic the prosecutors would entertain in this interview.
While we learned of many leaks of this investigation to the officers of the GTTF, one name remains elusive.
We know an assistant state's attorney in Marilyn Mosby's office leaked the investigation to Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, but the prosecutors say that fact was not aired out in court because it not part of the Hersl - Talyor case.
"With respect to the state's attorney, in Wayne Jenkins' plea which he averted to under oath, there is information about that and obviously he didn’t testify at trial and so that fact was not relevant for us to illicit at the trial," Hines said.
Wise and Hines say that name would have come out if Jenkins went to trial; in fact, a lot more would have come out if Jenkins did not take his plea.
Still though, while they cannot predict any more charges, the two say this investigation is still active and ongoing.