‘Wire’ creator David Simon seeks mercy for man involved in Michael K. Williams’ death

Simon said Williams' long-stated opposition to mass incarceration and the drug war convinced him the late actor would want him to seek mercy for defendant Carlos Macci.

The co-creator of HBO’s “The Wire” wants a judge to show compassion to an elderly man involved in the overdose death of Michael K. Williams, one of the show’s stars.

In a letter to Manhattan judge Ronnie Abrams, David Simon, one of Williams’ closest friends, pleaded with her to show mercy to 71-year-old defendant Carlos Macci. According to The New York Times, Macci’s attorney Benjamin Zeman included the three-page letter in a document submitted to the judge on Thursday.

“What happened to Mike is a grievous tragedy,” Simon wrote, The Times reported. “But I know that Michael would look upon the undone and desolate life of Mr. Macci and know two things with certainty: First, that it was Michael who bears the fuller responsibility for what happened.”

Michael K. Williams death
This April 2018 photo captures David Simon (left) and Michael K. Williams (right) at the “Vice” Season Six premiere at the Whitby Hotel in New York City. Simon is asking a judge to grant mercy to one of the men involved in Williams’ 2021 fentanyl overdose death. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Simon described Williams as “one of the finest actors with whom I have had the honor to collaborate and one of the most thoughtful, gracious, and charitable souls I could ever call a friend.”

He noted that Williams, 54, always insisted he was responsible for himself and that the choice to use or not use drugs would always be his own. 

“The Wire,” the gritty drama that ran on HBO from 2002 to 2008, examined Baltimore’s drug scene through the eyes of law enforcement, drug dealers and consumers. Over its five seasons, Williams portrayed the highly feared stickup man Omar Little, earning a living from robbing dealers.

Simon shared that Williams subtly disclosed his drug issues to a producer during the third season of the series’ production. He noted that the actor quickly let the crew help him with his drug usage after realizing his employment was a stabilizing factor.

Williams “even went so far as to seek out a crew member whose responsibility it was to keep Mike away from temptation,” he added, The Times reported.

Benjamin Zeman, Macci’s attorney, claimed he urged Simon to write on his client’s behalf because of the longtime writer’s thoughtful and articulate voice regarding the effects of the drug war’s failure. The attorney also said he was aware of Simon’s friendship with Williams and everything the actor said about the unsuccessful war on drugs throughout his life.

Four men have pleaded guilty for their roles in Williams’ September 2021 fentanyl killing, including Macci. The elder pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to possess and distribute drugs in April and is scheduled for sentencing later this month. The court’s probation office reportedly recommended a 10-year sentence.

In his filing, Zeman requests that Macci, imprisoned since his arrest in February 2022, be given credit for time already served, or around one and a half years.

Simon contended that Williams’ attitude and long-stated opposition to mass incarceration and the drug war convinced him the late actor would want him to write the letter on Macci’s behalf.

“No possible good can come from incarcerating a 71-year-old soul, largely illiterate, who has himself struggled with a lifetime of addiction,” Simon added in his letter, according to The Times, and who sold drugs “as someone caught up in the diaspora of addiction himself” rather than for profit.

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