“Johny, I Hardly Knew Ye” (Irish folk song)
Michael (Mike) Vecchione is Charles (Joe) Hynes’ favored Deputy in charge of the Rackets Bureau Division in Brooklyn’s Office of the District Attorney. He played a leading role in the ill-fated CBS special series, Brooklyn DA, where he piously mouthed off about never wanting to prosecute an innocent defendant.
Inside the office Mike does many videotaped trainings including sessions on the Brady Disclosure obligation to give defense counsel information helpful to the defendant. Prosecutors must turn over exculpatory information whether or not it’s written down. I hear that Vecchione routinely instructs staff not to record information favorable to the defendant and not to pass it over.
Mike also supervised Lauren Hersh, his disgraced former head of the Sex Trafficking Unit where she did Brady trainings under his watchful eye. She “resigned” because she kept Darrell Dula jailed for ten months even though the accuser who claimed she was raped and pimped by Dula, proceeded to recant 24 hours after her initial complaint. She never wavered in that recantation. NYPD Detective Steve Litwin succeeded in drawing attention to the recantation and Dula was finally released. I am told Vecchione hates Litwin for harming the career of his protégé, Lauren Hersh, and would love a chance to Scarcella him.
Mike has a legal problem, actually many problems (e.g., operating private jails, tolerating fraudulent notary documents with his signature, etc.), but I digress. As a prosecutor, Vecchione secured the conviction of Jabbar Collins for murder by intimidating a witness into false testimony. Mr. Collins served fifteen years before he was exonerated by Federal Judge Irrizary who called the prosecution of Collins “shameful.”
Collins’s lawyer, Joel Rudin, deposed Mike on June 21, 2003 as part of a,
lawsuit [that] charges Vecchione and others “for their misconduct in covering up and withholding documents and information specifically requested by [Collins] over nearly 15 years, which would have revealed Vecchione’s and the office’s wrongdoing and would have provided the basis to overturn [Collins’] conviction.”
According to Rudin, “Prosecutor Michael Vecchione couldn’t recall aspects of the case 324 times over five hours.”
I don’t blame Mike. He does not want to compound his problems by being caught committing perjury. Obviously, telling the truth or taking the 5th was not an option. However, many staff in the Office of the Brooklyn DA believe Vecchione perjured himself in the portions of the testimony pertaining to Lauren Hersh (see pp 95-100 of deposition transcript) that included:
- Q. Were you ever present for a presentation to members of the rackets bureau that Lauren Hersh participated in, concerning Brady or Rosario obligations?
- A. The answer specifically to that question is no. Because there was no such presentation about Rosario and Brady material.
- Q. Was there ever a presentation within the last two years to members of the rackets bureau concerning recording of statements by witnesses where that subject came up?
- A. Yes.
- Q. And when did that presentation occur?
- A. I don’t know. Within the last three years. I don’t have a specific recollection of it, of the date.
- Q. Did you participate in the presentation?
- A. I listened.
- Q. Did you make any remarks during that presentation?
- A. Perhaps to greet everybody and to say, settle down, we are going to start.
- Q. Who made the presentation?
- A. It was made by; the one I’m thinking of was made by Lauren Hirsch regarding the human trafficking cases and the handling of the human trafficking cases. I don’t recall if there were any other speakers. I just don’t recall.
- Q. During that presentation did Ms. Hirsch or anybody else make the statement, in words or in substance, that the statements of human trafficking victims should not be recorded?
- A. Don’t recall that.
- Q. Did Ms. Hirsch or anyone else in your presence make the statement that if a human trafficking victim initially denied abuse, that, that information should not be disclosed to the defense?
- A. I don’t recall that.
- Q. What was the substance of Ms. Hirsch’s remarks concerning recording of statements by human trafficking victims?
- A. I don’t recall.
- Q. No recollection at all?
- A. Other than it happened, I don’t recall.
- Q. Was that session audiotaped or videotaped?
- A. I don’t recall.
- Q. After that session was there any controversy in the office about whether her remarks were proper?
- A. Don’t recall.
- Q. Well, was there any discussion in the office about whether or not her remarks were proper to your knowledge?
- A. Don’t recall.
- Q Is that your best recollection?
- A. It is. I don’t recall when it is that she resigned, so I can’t remember when it was before that, but it was certainly within the last three years because the human trafficking unit began about three years ago so it had to be some time after that.
- Q. During that training session did Ms. Hirsch say anything that you disagreed with?
- A. I don’t recall what was said, so I don’t recall.
- Q. Are you aware of whether or not anyone in the office communicated with any of the individuals who were present for Ms. Hirsch’s remarks, any correction of what she
- A. Don’t recall.
- [There was some editing of the transcript (pp. 95-100) to eliminate false starts, objections, etc and to correct typos and punctuation. Nothing of substance is this exchange was distorted or omitted.]
Mike, you faithless cur! How could you forget the special attention you once lavished on Lauren. Mike, people in your office tell me that that they were surprised when you picked this mediocre, young ADA to head the Sex Trafficking Task Force. Some wondered about your motives and others suspected them.
Everyone in your office remembers that Lauren Hersh gave the aforementioned lecture in the spring of 2012 in an 18th floor lecture room. In the lead up to her lecture many of her staff quit or took transfers to escape her imperious incompetence. Staff in other parts of Rackets were assigned to take up the slack but they had no sex crimes experience. That is why your training was resented from the get-go and remembered very well.
Shortly after Lauren’s talk, Amy Feinstein, Chief Assistant District Attorney, sent out a memo to relevant staff reminding them of their Brady obligations. Around that time, Monique Ferrell, Chief Counsel to the Rackets Division, did a “make-up” session on the 18th floor to undo the damage of Lauren Hersh’s presentation. She openly challenged statements about Brady made by you and Hersh, especially your claim that, ‘If you don’t write it down, you don’t have to turn it over.’ Monique emphasized that information beneficial to the defense must be turned over, even if it is not recorded in writing.
This was also around the time that DA Hynes told the press that your office had improperly withheld the recantation by Dula’s accuser. Darrell Dula was freed around April 18, 2012 and Hersh “resigned” on May 24, 2012. Mike, the least you owe Lauren, your protege, is remembering how and when she was forced to resign.
Virtually all training sessions at the Brooklyn DA are videotaped. I cannot fathom how you forgot that. I am willing to bet you even remember brushing your hair and thinking about the best camera angle. Like Joe’s son, you want to end up in Hollywood. But, unlike him, you want to control the timing.
Staffers who have suffered under you, Mike, are so fed up that they are going to top personnel in the office and pushing for you to be fired. Dino Amoroso, Deputy District Attorney, attended your deposition. Everyone agrees that Dino is the scariest guy in the office and even makes you seem like a pussy. He is the guy who does the firings when Hynes doesn’t have the heart to deliver the bad news. As the President of Off Track Betting in Nassau County till 2009, Dino knows a few things about bad wagers. Gamblers Anonymous is full of people who don’t know how to cut their losses. The coffers of OTBs are filled with the bets of the losers. ADAs in the trenches are hoping Dino was there to size you up as a sacrificial lamb to the media hounds nipping at Joe’s heels because he thinks your odds stink. Mike, if so, Dino is prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner rolled into one.
Other staff are convinced that your misconduct should be laid at Joe’s door. They have concluded that Hynes is culpable for defending you and must be defeated in the September 10th election.
My readers in the Office of the DA, you now know where Mike’s memory went; it went into CYA-motivated, feigned failure. The question is what happened to your courage as prosecutorial staff sworn to uphold the law. Where did it go? Will it come back, and if so, will it come back soon enough? Based on what you know, a group of you could fulfill your professional obligation and file an ethics complaint alleging that Michael Vecchione committed perjury when he gave his sworn deposition.
Update (7/7/13) CBS show, Brooklyn DA, slated for cancellation.
Hat Tip- I owe multiple hat tips to my invaluable sources in the Office of the DA and the surrounding ecosystem. Thank you, thank you! Keep those tips coming.
I do have a quibble. I hear I am being called the “Frum Guy.” As you guys would say, “Cease and desist.” My blog is Frum Follies. I think I have entertained you enough to merit your taking the effort to get my blog’s full name fixed in your memory. I do not want you Googling your way to David Frum, the conservative commentator. He never links to me.
If you want to refer to me by name, I operate this blog under the assumed name, Yerachmiel Lopin. Ask your Hebrew-speaking friends about the meaning of Yerachmiel. Henna White might be able to help you, if you remind her that the Hebrew root is rachem. But then of course she might not. In spite of her role she is fluent in neither Yiddish nor Hebrew. Do NOT ask her why anti-abuse activists call her initiative, Kol Sheker unless you want her to turn sullen, defensive, and even more disheveled.