Hate Crime Beating, Hasidic Thugs, Politically Connected Shomrim and 4 Years – NO JUSTICE!

taj-patterson

THE NY DAILY NEWS REPORTS:

Hasidic man gets four years for role in group beating of gay black man in Brooklyn

It’s four years for an eye.

A Brooklyn judge sentenced a Hasidic Jewish man to four years in prison for participating in a vicious beatdown that left a gay black man blind in one eye.

Mayer Herskovic was not the only person who assaulted Taj Patterson on Flushing Ave. in December 2013. But he’s the only attacker getting prison time.

“Those who stomped and chased (Patterson) did try to injure him. The defendant was involved, he participated and was found guilty for that,” said Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun.

Cop: We used trick to get video of Hasidic men beating victim

Patterson, 25, did not attend the court proceedings in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Thursday — he previously said he wants to move on with his life.

Nonetheless, the lasting effects of the senseless attack will remain with him.

“Mr. Patterson asked himself why all this happened to him and he concluded it’s because he was a young black male in a predominately Orthodox neighborhood,” Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough said on behalf of the victim.

According to trial testimony, Patterson was walking to his Fort Greene home when men — some belonging to the Williamsburg Shomrim, a Jewish patrol group — began chasing after him. The attackers mistook him for the suspect in a car vandalism streak, prosecutors previously said.

EXCLUSIVE: Gay, black man who was brutally attacked sues city

“This defendant, that group and the community couldn’t see him as an individual, but as a criminal,” said Gough, who recommended Herskovic receive five years in prison.

Video surveillance showed men chasing Patterson for blocks. One person with a walkie-talkie was identified at trial as Yoelli (Joel) Itzkowitz, but he was not questioned for his role in the attack.

One of Patterson’s lawyers has urged the Brooklyn DA’s office to indict Itzkowitz, alleging prosecutors have overlooked Itzkowitz because his brother is the politically connected coordinator of the Williamsburg Shomrim.

Four men in addition to Herskovic were charged in the beating. Two of the cases were dismissed and two of the attackers took plea deals sentencing them to 150 hours of community service each.

“Amongst all participants who stomped and beat Mr. Patterson, this defendant wasn’t the most culpable,” Chun said of Herskovic. “Mr. Patterson was chased for blocks, but not by the defendant before me.”

Prosecutors placed Herskovic at the scene thanks to DNA found on one of Patterson’s sneakers that was thrown to the roof of a nearby building.

The “deeply scarred” Patterson asked the judge to sentence Herskovic to the maximum of 15 years in prison for the second-degree gang assault and unlawful imprisonment charges.

“When Patterson woke up in the hospital, he didn’t know where he was. He was upset, frightened and alone,” said Gough.

The victim has had surgery three times, but he’ll never regain eyesight in his right eye.

“I wish I can take back what happened to Mr. Patterson all those years ago … I hope he finds peace for all he has suffered and endured,” Herskovic told the judge as he pleaded for a lenient sentence.

“I’m 24, my life is about family, helping people,” he added. “I work as a construction worker. I work with all kinds of people, black, white, Hispanic, gay and not gay.”

Nevertheless, his lawyer Stuart Slotnick asserted outside of court that “the DNA evidence was completely and totally flawed.”

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY FROM THE NY DAILY NEWS CLICK HERE.

KARMA STRIKES BACK: In new suit, former BK DA Hynes alleged to have had “policy, custom and practice of deliberate indifference towards witness tampering and intimidation of victims of pedophiles and their families within the ultra-Orthodox community”

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Alleged pedophile protector, former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes

From the NY Daily News:

A Brooklyn dad claims the borough’s former district attorney Charles Hynes targeted him while cutting a sweetheart deal with a prominent rabbi accused of sexually abusing boys.

Samuel Kellner says in a federal civil rights lawsuit that Hynes falsely charged him with extortion after he led an effort to lock up Baruch Lebovits.

“The ‘investigation’ by Hynes into [Kellner] deviated so egregiously from acceptable law enforcement activity as to demonstrate an intentional or reckless disregard for proper procedures,” reads the lawsuit targeting Hynes and the city.

The sordid saga began in 2008 when Lebovits allegedly molested Kellner’s son.

A prosecutor told Kellner that the district attorney’s office wasn’t going to open an investigation because the alleged offense was a misdemeanor and there were no other known victims, the suit says.

But Kellner, working with a detective, found other boys who were preyed upon by Lebovits.

Hynes’ office launched a probe but Kellner claims the former DA did nothing when Lebovits’ supporters succeeded in convincing one of his victims to drop the case.

“Hynes’ deliberate indifference towards [the boy’s] plight and failure to protect him was part of a policy, custom and practice of deliberate indifference towards witness tampering and intimidation of victims of pedophiles and their families within the ultra-Orthodox community,” says the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Lebovits was ultimately convicted in March 2010 of multiple counts of sexual assault and sentenced to serve up to 32 years.

Kellner’s joy was short-lived.

He claims in the suit that Hynes quietly dismissed his son’s case against Lebovits in October 2010.

“The suffering and courage of a victim in coming forward to report his abuse meant nothing to Hynes,” Kellner’s attorney Niall Macgiollabhui wrote in the suit.

Things got worse for Kellner in April 2011 when he was charged with trying to blackmail Lebovits’ wealthy family and paying a man to falsely accuse the rabbi.

Hynes held a news conference trumpeting Kellner’s arrest.

Lebovits was sprung from jail the next day. His conviction was overturned in 2012.

“What is truly shocking is that instead of locking up pedophiles and protecting children, Hynes was instrumental in securing the release of a notorious predator from prison and dismissing the cases of two victims he and his office knew to have been abused,” Macgiollabhui told the Daily News.

“At some point Hynes will have to explain why he conspired in the shadows with the family of a convicted child rapist to undermine the conviction his own office had just secured.”

The criminal charges against Kellner were dropped in March 2014 after a prosecutor re-examining the case found inconsistencies in the accounts of two key witnesses.

Lebovits pleaded guilty to reduced charges in May 2014 and was sentenced to serve another year.

He was released after just 86 days.

Hynes’ lawyer did not return a request for comment.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said it will review the complaint.

Kellner filed a defamation suit against the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper in November 2014. That case was settled in January under a confidentiality agreement.

 

 

NORM… – If You Were Going to Defraud Your Fellow Officers – You Needed to Learn the Ropes!!!

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Ex-correction union boss Norman Seabrook wasn’t properly supervised and showered execs with ‘luxury gifts,’ suit says

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/norman-seabrook-showered-execs-luxury-gifts-suit-article-1.2852569

Correction union execs weren’t keeping an eye on now-indicted ex-president Norman Seabrook when he invested pension money in a “Ponzi scheme” – because he had long showered them with gifts such as cars, a new lawsuit alleges.

The feds have alleged Murray Huberfeld, who ran an investment firm called Platinum Partners, agreed to give Seabrook a kickback in late 2013 — so he would invest union money in one of its high-risk funds.

Seabrook dumped some $20 million of Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association money into Platinum Partners in 2014.

That December, Seabrook received a $60,000 cash kickback in an $800 Ferragamo bag and became “angry,” griping it wasn’t enough, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has alleged.

Hedge fund holding Seabrook’s investment files for bankruptcy

Sources previously told the Daily News that the middleman who delivered the money to Seabrook was Jona Rechnitz, a major donor to de Blasio’s mayoral bid and the now-shuttered Campaign for One New York.

Platinum Partners has since declared bankruptcy, however – making COBA’s investments in the fund “virtually worthless,” according to the Manhattan federal court lawsuit, filed by Jeffrey Norton, of Newman Ferrara, and Philip Seelig. Seelig was COBA president from 1979 to 1992.

Seabrook got away with investing in Platinum — without COBA’s executive board knowing or approving the investment — because execs “had, for years, failed to supervise Seabrook in any meaningful way,” the suit charges.

“Indeed, Seabrook had ensured the Executive Board’s quiescence through liberal dispensations of gift cards, cars, and plush job assignments away from Rikers Island, which ensured they exercised no due diligence over Seabrook’s activities,” court papers say.

Indicted former NYC correction union boss wants Disney vacation

The suit also slams COBA’s law firm, Koehler & Isaacs LLP, as being “more loyal to Seabrook than to COBA” — and distracting union leadership — to protect its business interests.

“Although Koehler & Isaacs knew that Seabrook had made the high stakes investment, its contract with COBA could be imperiled if Koehler & Isaacs made any representations that called into question Seabrook’s activities,” court papers say.

The feds have alleged Murray Huberfeld agreed to give Seabrook a kickback in late 2013.

The feds have alleged Murray Huberfeld agreed to give Seabrook a kickback in late 2013.

(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)

“Accordingly, Koehler & Isaacs neither advised nor warned the Executive Board about the investment.

“Instead, Koehler & Isaacs helped Seabrook co-opt the Executive Board by providing the members with GPS devices and other luxury gifts,” the suit says.

Seabrook loudly pleads not guilty to corruption charges

COBA President Elias Husamudeen said in a statement to The News that the filing is “yet another frivolous suit” brought by those who have an axe to grind with the union.

“The fact of the matter is that no matter how many lawsuits are brought against our union, we remain focused on representing and fighting for our members, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Husamudeen said.

Koehler & Isaacs also shot back at the suit, calling the allegations “salacious” and misleading.

“The facts will show that Koehler & Isaacs, along with COBA’s financial advisors, performed a thorough and diligent vetting of the union’s investment in Platinum Partners, which at the time of the investment, produced among the highest returns for investors in the hedge fund industry,” the firm said in a statement.

A new dimension to Seabrook corruption scandal?

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Famed J.P. Morgan Building at 23 Wall Street in Play – and Urinating Bosses…

project_rs_23wall

23 Wall Street – Our Theories

We have written on the famed J.P. Morgan piece of property more times than perhaps any other Blog. We have written on the various Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg properties/investments/shady dealings. We have written about Chetrit and Bistricer, China Sonangol, Queensway, Angola. The story below from “The Real Deal” almost feels like something we could have written. But, of course, we didn’t.

The new buyer, as you will see below from the article on the bottom of the page, Jack Terzi, lacks certain social graces (or did in 2012). He apparently was an abusive boss who, according to reports in the NY Daily News from 2012, engaged in bizarre behavior. In the interest of full disclosure, his employees at his yogurt shops felt that he was “strictly business” and “humble.” Hard to tell.

We can say this:

It would not surprise us if nestled within the many companies listed on the Africa-Israel website with reference to the Israel Stock Exchange we were to find the new J.P. Morgan buyer’s name, his company or some financial/management synergy with Africa Israel and perhaps concurrently with China Sonangol. It will take a while to find and some might write this one off as a leap. We don’t think so.

It is a Buyer’s market not a Seller’s market in Manhattan right now (if the comment about the losses below by The Real Deal is any indication). China Sonangol/Africa-Israel/Sam Pa/ want out of New York but we doubt they would take a financial loss. We think that it will prove to be anything but a loss.

AFI Group

The company is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
For more information, please press on the image below.

Click here for more information

Subsidiaries:

Africa Israel Properties
Click here for more information
Africa Israel Residences
Click here for more information
 Danya Cebus
 Click here for more information
 Africa Israel Industries
 Click here for more information
 Negev Ceramics
 Click here for more information
Dor Alon
Click here for more information
Blue Square
Click here for more information

 

 

Paydirt: The Compass unicorn, a more modest buyer pool, 23 Wall in play … & more

Billionaires hiding? We’ll take the millionaires: Compass’ valuation comes at a time when Manhattan’s high-end residential market is taking body blows. Developers finally seem willing to accept things aren’t where they were in 2014. They’re either offering fat discounts (Extell at One Manhattan Square, World Wide Group and Rose Associates at 252 East 57th Street), pushing sales back (JDS & PMG at 111 West 57th Street) or abandoning ship (Witkoff at Park Lane, Chetrit & Bistricer at the Sony Building).  “The next two years will be the year of the deal,” PMG’s Kevin Maloney told Bloomberg.

Developers who set their sights a little more main street have been faring better: Condos priced between $500,000 and $999,000 have sold five times as fast as their $10 million-and-up counterparts, according to a Miller Samuel analysis of a decade of residential sales.

You don’t know Jack: JTRE’s Jack Terzi is in contract to buy 23 Wall Street, a landmarked property that was once the headquarters of J.P. Morgan & Co. – it was dubbed the “House of Morgan” — but of late has been a pox on Lower Manhattan. The long-vacant building is owned by the shadowy China Sonangol, a joint venture between Sam Pa’s Queensway Group and the nation of Angola — go figure. Sources told the New York Post that Terzi will be buying the property at a discount to the $150 million Sonangol paid for it in 2008. That’s hard to fathom, except for the fact that Pa is under investigation for allegations of financial crimes, according to the FT.

Terzi, who grew up in Gravesend and cut his teeth at Hidrock Realty, has made a number of splashy acquisitions of late, including a number of $20 million-plus buys in Midtown East. But this deal, if he does close on it, elevates him to a different level — giving him control of more than 130,000 square feet in the heart of Lower Manhattan.

 

Sam-Pa-23-Wall-Street (1)

 

THE NEW YORK POST:

http://nypost.com/2016/08/30/long-vacant-wall-street-landmark-sold-to-retail-developer/

 

For a tall tale about how China Sonangol may or may not have come to its original purchase through individuals mixed up in the NYPD scandals, read The Post’s Steve Cuozzo’s story from July 4.

The 160,000 square feet stretches from the landmarked 23 Wall St. where banker Morgan once had his private offices, around the sloped corner to portions of the base floors of 33 Wall and 15 Broad St.

The stone fortress has been touted as a retail play for years, but it’s stood mostly dark — due to absentee ownership and landmark-related restrictions.

Prospective deals to lease it to Brooks Brothers and a multi-media event company fell through but Hermes has been a tenant since 2007.

The upper stories of 15 Broad next door were converted into apartments.

JACK TERZI – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ex-worker-suing-real-estate-boss-jack-terzi-5-million-abuse-fines-urinating-article-1.1134148

 

Ex-worker suing real estate boss, Jack Terzi, for $5 million for abuse, fines, and urinating

A foul-mouthed boss from hell unzipped more than his lip in torturing his young assistant.

Brash real estate broker Jack Terzi urinated on the underling’s clothes during a three-year reign of terror in their Manhattan office, according to a astonishing new lawsuit.

The allegedly abusive broker was accused by ex-employee Albert Sultan of abuse that included cutting four-letter insults, sharp flying objects and bizarre fines.

Sultan, hired shortly after Terzi launched his company in 2009, “became emotionally distraught, was humiliated and embarrassed … by the systematic and continuous unlawful harassment,” charged the 15-page suit filed Wednesday.

Court papers contain a cruel recital of Terzi’s perverse management style, including the time he “urinated on a garment” belonging to Sultan as others watched.

Terzi was accused of throwing a shoe and a pair of scissors at his young assistant, hurling insults like “f—— idiot” and “piece of s—“ — and repeatedly “sneezing in (Sultan’s) face in a contemptuous fashion.”

Terzi, in a countersuit, charged Sultan was a conniving backstabber who launched his own business with confidential information stolen from Jack Terzi Real Estate.

Sultan, of Eatontown, N.J., declined further discussion about his ex-boss.

 

 

1972 Sexually Abused Teen Finally Gets to Speak Out

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EXCLUSIVE: Man sexually abused as teen in 1972 files suit against camp that employed counselor who abused him and others: ‘Nobody stopped it’

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/man-abused-teen-files-suit-camp-employed-abuser-article-1.2773544

He has held the secret of that summer for more than 40 years.

He was a 13-year-old in 1972, away at Camp Ramah in the foothills of the Taconic Mountains when, he says, a counselor lured him into the woods and forced him to perform oral sex.

The self-loathing smoldered inside, worsening each time a memory came flashing back.

Then earlier this year, the victim — a Westchester businessman and now a John Doe in legal papers — was fishing on the internet. What he found took his breath away.

PAC pushing for Child Victims Act endorses Westchester Democrat

His alleged abuser — Harvey Erlich — had gone on to sexually abuse four other boys.

Finally, he was forced to take a stand.

“This is what enrages me more than anything else,” the father of three told the Daily News in an exclusive interview Wednesday. “The fact is this went on for years and nobody stopped it.”

The businessman struck back Wednesday by filing a bombshell lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court that claims camp officials knew Erlich, then an 18-year-old counselor at the Conservative Jewish camp in Wingdale, N.Y., was a sexual predator but failed to protect him and other children.

NYPD cop pleads guilty to boy sex abuse on Skype

The businessman, now in his 50s said he has struggled with alcoholism, drug abuse, anger management and trust issues. Unable to cope with depression, he attempted suicide several times.

“I got f—ed over this,” he said, showing scars on his forearms. “I was trying to punish myself for putting myself in this position and not doing anything about it.”

The lawsuit, which seeks at least $20 million in damages, names the Jewish Theological Seminary. It also names the National Ramah Commission — the JTS subsidiary that operates Camp Ramah and other summer camps dedicated to teaching Jewish traditions.

“In 1972, Camp Ramah was an extremely dangerous place where a vicious, malicious and sadistic predator roamed free to pick off his innocent prey by relying upon the respect and reverence he commanded by virtue of his position of authority at the camp,” the lawsuit says.

Paterno was told of Sandusky’s child abuse in 1976: court docs

The seminary and commission did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

The complaint also says that National Ramah Commission officials, including then-assistant camp director David Soloff and Kenneth Greene, the division head for campers in John Doe’s age group, had been told that Erlich abused several boys just weeks before he assaulted John Doe.

Soloff, Greene and other officials failed to call police, notify parents or terminate the counselor, the lawsuit says.

The News was unable to reach Soloff and Greene for comment.

Minuteman co-founder sentenced to 19.5 years for molesting child

A coverup by camp officials and their failure to stop Erlich, the lawsuit says, allowed Erlich to sexually abuse four boys during the 1970s and 1980s in Toronto, where he worked as a dentist and served as a choir conductor.

One of those victims, an 11-year-old boy, was sexually assaulted in a Toronto synagogue, according to Canadian police.

Erlich was arrested on sex abuse charges in 2012 in Canada, which does not have a statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases.

Dr. Harvey Erlich was arrested on sexual abuse charges in Canada in 2012 and pleaded guilty in 2015.

(Obtained by Daily News)

He pleaded guilty last year to three counts of gross indecency and was sentenced to 18 months’ house arrest.

Long Island priest didn’t protect 4-year-old from his perv son

The strict statute of limitations in New York — which the Daily News has pressured officeholders to change — bars sex abuse survivors from pursuing criminal charges or civil damages after their 23rd birthday.

The businessman’s attorney, Kevin Mulhearn, is trying a different approach to circumvent the restrictive law. Instead, he is arguing that camp officials violated Title IX, the 1972 federal law best known for enforcing equality for women in college sports.

Title IX also prohibits sexual abuse and harassment in educational programs that receive federal financial assistance.

The Second Court of Appeals recently ruled that the clock on the Title IX statute of limitations does not begin ticking until a plaintiff knows or should have known about the coverup, Mulhearn said.

Louisiana priest busted for having 500 images of child porn

The businessman told The News he did not know Erlich had abused other boys until he read accounts about his arrest and sentencing earlier this year.

He reported his abuse to Toronto police, but authorities told him there was nothing they could do because Erlich had assaulted him in New York, not Canada.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

 

FOR FURTHER READING:

http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/another-arrest-in-toronto-jewish.html

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Arrest In The Toronto Jewish Community For Child Sex-Abuse Today!

9:12 A.M.

Dr. Harvey Erlich

The Toronto Police this morning arrested Harvey Erlich.  Erlich was the conductor of the Toronto Pirchei (Agudath Israel) Choir. This was the same choir with which Heshy Nussbaum was involved.

http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/

Nov 15, 2012, 05:00 pm Man Charged In Historical Sexual Assault Investigation, Harvey Erlich, 58, Police Believe There May Be More Victims
___________________________________________________

Danny Wool has left a new comment on your post “Another Arrest In The Toronto Jewish Community For…”:

Let me be clear here. No one is talking about “commenc[ing] the destruction of a man and [I agree] more importantly, his family.” I believe that a press release is forthcoming, and it is only a matter of time.

At the same time, I wish you would consider the lives that were already destroyed because of what happened, even if it was so long ago. Those scars are real.

In my yeshiva days I learned that chataim bein adam lehaveiro, Yom Kippur eino mechaper” (Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between people). As one of the victims (yes, I said it), I cannot even begin to think of forgiveness unless there is a full public confession of what happened, not just to me, but to everyone else who was victimized. I expect that from both the perpetrators yimach shemam (may their names be erased) because only then will I be able to begin the process of yimach zichram (may the memory of them and what they did be erased).

When I was in the choir we used to sing, Ivdu et Hashem besimha, bo’u lefanav birnana. These are words every Orthodox kid knows. They come from Psalms 100, and are recited every weekday as part of the morning prayer service. When I used to pray, I found them ironic. They tell us to serve God with happiness, but they always reminded me of the choir, and that always left me depressed.

As I grew older, I learned that this is what is called a trigger (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trauma_trigger). What a horrible realization that was–the very invocation to be happy, especially when serving God, actually evoked one of the most traumatic events of my life. By extension, the very act of prayer becomes a trigger–the very kind of thing that survivors learn to avoid.

To put matters into perspective, prayer was one of the things that was stolen from me by those two animals. And there was much, much more–things that can never be returned.

As for the silence from the community, shetika kehoda’a (silence is the equivalent of admission). I regard the Jewish community’s silence as their admission of what happened and, by extension, of their acceptance of what happened too.

You asked, How can we know that the charges are true? There is one simple way. Ask the perpetrators. Demand that they tell you the truth, regardless of the consequences. The truth will come out anyway. They will be recognized for what they did. Maybe by admitting it now, they can, at least, begin to show the first signs of remorse.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/torontopircheichoir

http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/another-arrest-in-toronto-jewish.html

Sheldon Silver – FREEDOM FOR ANOTHER YEAR…

 

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Silver, Like Skelos, Can Remain Free While Appealing Graft Conviction

In a search on the federal Bureau of Prisons website, the names of two familiar New Yorkers — Sheldon Silver and Dean G. Skelos — now appear.

Both were once powerful state lawmakers. Then they were convicted on corruption charges. Now they are listed with prisoner registration numbers: Mr. Silver is 71915-054; Mr. Skelos is 72196-054.

But for each man’s entry, the federal website also adds: “Not in B.O.P. custody.” And based on a court ruling on Thursday, neither man is now required to report to the authorities anytime soon as the convictions are appealed, a process that could take more than a year.

Ever since they were found guilty last year in separate trials, Mr. Silver, 72, a Manhattan Democrat who was speaker of the State Assembly, and Mr. Skelos, 68, a Long Island Republican who served as the State Senate majority leader, have moved aggressively to stave off the day that they had to begin serving their prison sentences and pay the imposed fines.

In seeking bail pending appeal, they argued that a Supreme Court decision in June that overturned the corruption conviction of former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, a Republican, had changed the law in a way that increased their chances of winning reversals.

In the ruling issued on Thursday, Judge Valerie E. Caproni of Federal District Court in Manhattan, who presided in Mr. Silver’s trial, granted his request to remain free on bail while he appeals his case. He faces a 12-year sentence for his convictions on charges of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering.

Judge Caproni’s ruling comes three weeks after another judge, Kimba M. Wood, agreed to continue bail for Mr. Skelos and his son, Adam, 34, who was convicted along with his father, both on bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors had charged that Mr. Silver had obtained nearly $4 million in illicit payments and bribes in return for official actions that benefited a prominent cancer researcher at Columbia University and two real estate developers.

Judge Caproni, in her opinion, made it clear she believed that Mr. Silver had engaged in such conduct. “There is no question that Silver took a number of official acts — most obviously passing legislation and approving state grants and tax-exempt financing — as part of a quid pro quo” in two schemes, she wrote.

But, citing the recent McDonnell decision, she added that there was a “substantial question” whether the court’s instructions to the jury, which defined official action, were in error, and if so, whether that error was harmless.

Mr. Skelos was convicted with his son in December. Prosecutors showed that they had used the senator’s position to pressure various firms to provide the son with consulting work and other benefits. The elder Mr. Skelos faces a five-year sentence and his son received a term of six and a half years.

Judge Wood, in a brief order on Aug. 4 continuing their bail, said they had shown that their appeals presented “a substantial question regarding whether this court’s jury instructions were erroneous” in light of the McDonnell case.

The rulings come more than eight months after the three men were resoundingly convicted in two trials that unveiled a seamy culture of illicit payments and influence peddling in Albany.

The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to comment on the ruling on Thursday. Mr. Silver’s lawyers, Joel Cohen and Steven F. Molo, said in a statement: “We are grateful that the trial judge agreed there is now a substantial legal question about the conviction. We look forward to vigorously pursuing Mr. Silver’s appeal.”

The ruling drew varied reactions in the legal community, where the men’s efforts to obtain bail were being watched with interest by lawyers with no involvement in the cases. Jennifer G. Rodgers, the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School and a former federal prosecutor, said she believed that all three men would eventually lose their appeals.

“The problem from the public’s perspective,” she said, “is that, whether or not the judges’ bail decisions were technically legally correct, leaving Silver and Skelos free feeds into the notion that these corrupt officials continue to succeed in working the system to their advantage.”
But Gerald B. Lefcourt, a veteran defense lawyer who has represented clients in corruption cases, said that the McDonnell decision might indeed offer a strong basis for appeal and that fairness dictated continuing bail for Mr. Silver and the Skeloses.

“They shouldn’t have to serve time when they may never have to,” he said. “I have no love for these men, but I do care about the system.”

To obtain bail pending appeal, a defendant must show an appeal raises a “substantial question of law or fact” that is likely to result in a conviction’s reversal.

That is why the McDonnell decision has been at the center of the current debate. In it, the Supreme Court appeared to narrow the definition of the kind of conduct or “official acts” that may serve as the basis for a corruption prosecution. The court said such conduct had to involve formal and concrete government actions or decisions, not just the setting up of meetings or making phone calls.

The Silver and Skelos defense lawyers have argued that the judges in their clients’ cases instructed the juries more broadly about what constituted an official act than may now be allowed under the McDonnell decision. As a result, they say, there is no way to tell whether the juries, in convicting the men, “improperly relied on acts that are not ‘official’ under McDonnell,” as Mr. Silver’s lawyer wrote in a court filing.

Federal prosecutors had strongly opposed the bail requests. In a recent filing in Mr. Silver’s case, Mr. Bharara’s office argued that the actions for which he was convicted fit squarely within the narrower McDonnell definition.

“McDonnell will not save Silver on appeal, nor should it entitle him to bail pending appeal,” the prosecutors said. And even if the jury instructions were erroneous in light of the McDonnell case, they said, “the error clearly would be harmless.” There was no chance, they said, that the jury’s verdict could have been based on acts that fell short of the McDonnell standard.

“The proof was overwhelming,” Mr. Bharara’s office wrote, “that in exchange for millions in personal payouts, Silver took or agreed to take actions that by any definition were ‘official’ — including securing state funding and favorable state legislation.”

To read the New York Times article in its entirety click here.

For Further Reading:

Sheldon Silver avoids jail for at least another year

Disgraced ex-Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver caught the break of a lifetime Thursday …

Sheldon Silver’s prison surrender date pushed back by judge

Sheldon Silver remains free on appeal

Sheldon Silver to Start Prison Term – Now we Need to Find all of the People who were Complicit in his Crimes

Hamaspik.4

CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THE MEN WITH SILVER IN THIS PICTURE????

Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sheldon-silver-start-12-year-prison-term-schedule-feds-article-1.2740506

 

In a letter Friday, Federal prosecutors urged a judge to stick to her guns and order former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to start serving his 12-year prison sentence as scheduled on August 31.

The letter came hours after Silver’s lawyers asked U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni to treat their client just as Dean Skelos was treated in an entirely separate case and allow Silver to remain free pending appeal.

Skelos is the former state Senate majority leader also convicted on corruption charges.

Silver’s lawyers are hoping that Caproni will echo Judge Kimba Wood, who ruled that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision raised “a substantial question” about whether Skelos’ corruption conviction should be overturned.

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The top court decision, which came shortly after the Skelos and Silver verdicts, clarified what constitutes an “official act” of corruption and defense lawyers in both cases contend that the ruling invalidates legal instructions given to their Manhattan juries.

U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni may follow Judge Kimba Wood, who noted that “a substantial question” was raised about the Skelos case.

In their letter to Caproni about Silver, the prosecutors said “contrary to the defendant’s assertion … the jury instructions given by the court in this case were in full accord with the requirements” of the recent Supreme Court decision and if there was any error, “it was harmless in view of the overwhelming and undisputed proof presented at (Silver’s) trial.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sheldon-silver-start-12-year-prison-term-schedule-feds-article-1.2740506