Defense counsel in the Luciano trial had no foreknowledge as to whom the prosecution might call to testify, or for what purpose. This was due, in part, to a recent change in New York law – the repeal of Code of Criminal Procedure section 271 in February of 1936 – that allowed Dewey to keep secret the identities of all who’d appeared before the grand jury. That fact, combined with the pre-trial incarceration of nearly a hundred potential witnesses for periods of over three months in the House of Detention, made People v. Charles Luciano, etc. et al. a classic case of “trial by surprise.”
Once the identity of a prosecution witness became known, the defense had to scramble to learn what it could about that witness in order to cross-examine, as was illustrated by the Kornbluth affair and the testimony of Cokey Flo Brown. So when defense counsel somehow got wind that Genevieve Flesher aka Nancy Presser – a syphilitic prostitute and heroin addict, and the girlfriend of Luciano co-defendant Ralph Liguori – would be testifying for the prosecution, defense investigators sprang into action.
To read their confidential interview report: