Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 1Listen to podcast
Initial Interview by NYPD Detective Mark Cohen 4/4/2003
Ahmed Qali (9:01 A.M.)
Q: Mr. Qali this is an informal interview. However, you do have the right to an attorney of your choosing. If you cannot afford an attorney, the City will provide one for you. Moreover, any statements you make to me today could be used against you in a court of law. This interview is being taped. Do you understand and agree to these conditions?
A: Yes. I understand.
Q: Do you also agree to these conditions?
A: Is it necessary for me to agree?
Q: I cannot proceed with this informal interview unless you agree to these conditions. However, you are not required to submit to a voluntary interview at this time and do have the right to be represented by an attorney.
A: And, if I do not agree to these conditions and this interview, then what are the consequences?
Q: You do have the right to be represented by an attorney to answer questions. Your willingness or unwillingness to cooperate cannot be taken as evidence of guilt or innocence. If you are not willing to submit to this informal interview, you can and may be legally compelled to answer questions. At such time, you will still have the right to be represented by an attorney.
A: Am I likely to be “compelled” to answer questions?
Q: That decision is not up to me. However, I can tell you that we are interested in learning more about your whereabouts early on the morning of April first and your relationship with the deceased, Lawrance Lazard.
A: I believe that means I have no choice but to cooperate.
Q: I must reiterate that, at this point, your cooperation is purely voluntary. You also have a right to be represented by an attorney. We cannot proceed any further unless you do agree to the terms of this interview.
A: I have no choice. Please proceed.
Q: You have a choice. Do you agree to the terms of this interview as I described them to you? Would you like me to repeat those terms?
A: I agree to these terms. Please proceed.
Q: Do you wish to be represented by an attorney?
A: I already said...
Q: You said you agreed to the terms. The terms include your right to be represented by an attorney. Do you understand and agree?
A: Yes; yes. I have said that.
Q: Do you wish to be represented by an attorney?
A: No, no.
Q: If, at any time during this interview, you wish to be represented by an attorney, please make that known and the interview will cease until representation has been arranged. Is that understood?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: I am now handing you a consent form in which you acknowledge that I have advised you of your right to be represented by an attorney and that you have elected to proceed without an attorney at this time. Are you comfortable signing this form?
A: No, I am not. But I will sign it.
Q: You should not sign this form unless you are comfortable with it.
A: I will sign.
Q: The transcript of this interview will show that you reviewed the consent form, signed it and handed it to me. What is your full name?
A: Ahmed Qali.
Q: Do you have a middle name?
A: I do not.
Q: Are you married?
A: No, I am not.
Q: Have you ever used any other name?
A: I have given you the English version of my name. In my native country and in other Arab countries, I use the Arabic version of my name.
Q: What is that?
A: Siyyid Ahmed Qali.
Q: You said you didn’t have a middle name; it sounds as if Ahmed is your middle name and your first name is Siyyid.
A: Siyyid is a title, rather. It means simply that I am a descendant of the Prophet.
Q: Would native Arabic speakers consider these to be two forms of the same name?
A: I believe they would.
Q: Have you ever been married?
Q: What is your address?
A: 145 111th street. It’s at the corner of 111th and Amsterdam. In Morningside Heights.
Q: Is that in Manhattan?
A: Yes. It is.
Q: Is there an apartment number?
A: Yes. It is apartment number two.
Q: Does anyone reside there with you?
A: I believe you already know the answer to that question.
Q: For the sake of this interview, you must assume I know nothing. Would you like me to repeat the question?
Q: No one else lives with you at that address?
A: No. No, I don’t need you to repeat the question.
Q: Does anyone else live with you at that address?
A: I said I did not need you to repeat the question.
Q: Please answer the question.
Q: Who lives with you at that address?
A: A woman named Rachel Roth.
Q: Do you and Ms. Roth have an intimate relationship?
A: We both pay equal shares of the rent.
Q: That doesn’t answer my question.
A: Then I don’t understand your question.
Q: Are you and Ms. Roth lovers?
A: I have told you we are not married.
Q: Please understand that it is necessary for me to ask personal questions. I will rephrase my question. Do you and Ms. Roth have a sexual relationship?
A: We do not. As I have explained, we pay equal shares of the rent.
Q: Are you saying that Ms. Roth and yourself are only roommates?
A: We are roommates, yes.
Q: How long have you and Ms. Roth shared this apartment?
A: Approximately three years and one month.
Q: Has anyone else lived with you and Ms. Roth in that apartment during this time?
Q: Who was that and during what time frame?
A: I do not remember the exact dates. On one occasion my brother visited and stayed with us.
Q: Approximately when was that? For how long was he with you on that occasion?
A: It was approximately in March of 2000. He was with us for two days.
Q: Has anyone else resided in the apartment with you and Ms. Roth for a period of longer than two weeks?
A: No. No one has.
Q: Was there a time during your co-residency with Ms. Roth that you had a sexual relationship?
A: Please define what you mean by “sexual relationship”?
Q: I think you probably know what that term means. I would appreciate it if you would answer the question.
A: I believe your own President, Mr. Bill Clinton, has said that that term is difficult to define.
Q: Are you a politician, Mr. Qali?
A: I am not political.
Q: In that case, I would assume you know what I mean by “sexual relationship”.
A: I would like a definition of “sexual relations” before I answer that question.
Q: A few minutes ago, I asked you whether you and Ms. Roth have a sexual relationship. You answered me that you do not. I inferred from that answer that you understood what I mean by “sexual relationship”. Would you like to withdraw that answer?
A: I would not.
Q: In that case, assuming I mean the same thing by “sexual relationship” now as I did when I asked the prior question about your relationship, please answer the question: At any time during your co-residency with Ms. Roth did you have such a sexual relationship?
A: I would prefer not to answer that question.
Q: Do I take that as a “yes”?
A: As I said, I am not answering that question. Am I compelled to answer that question?
Q: At this time you are not compelled to answer any question. Would you like to end this interview until you can be represented by an attorney?
A: I have said that I do not now currently require an attorney.
Q: I must warn that you that I will terminate this informal interview if you insist on remaining uncooperative.
A: I believe I am being cooperative.
Q: At what point during the three years that you and Ms. Roth lived together did you cease having a sexual relationship?
A: I do not understand the meaning of “sexual relationship” well enough to answer that question. I am sorry.
Q: Did your sexual relationship with Ms. Roth end when her sexual relationship with the deceased began?
A: I do not know when her sexual relationship with the deceased began.
Q: But you know she had one?
A: I did not say that.
Q: Do you know that Rachel was seeing Larry Lazard?
A: Of course, she is seeing Larry. Of course I know that. Her firm is the banker for hackoff and she is responsible in her firm for that account.
Q: Mr. Qali, please don’t play word games with me.
A: My English is not sufficient—
Q: Your English is fine. When did you first know that Rachel and Larry were having sex?
A: I ... I do not have an interest in her private life.
Q: Did you stop having an interest in her private life when you stopped having sex with her yourself? Was that when you found out that she was fucking her client, now deceased?
A: Detective, I believe you are being abusive in the conduct of this interrogation.
Q: This is an interview, not an interrogation. Would you like to end this interview until you can be represented by an attorney?
A: I believe it would be prejudicial for me to end this interview.
Q: You can believe whatever you like. I have explained that the choice is yours. We can have this discussion now, informally, or we can have a formal discussion in which you are under oath and are represented if you like, by an attorney.
A: Please continue the interrogation.