Bodyguard to Hynes, & two unidentified women (perhaps investigators from rackets?)
Samuel Kellner should have gotten his trial on Monday to confront the charge that he attempted extortion and suborned perjury. It is already 28 months since he was paraded in a perp walk and publicly defamed at a DA press conference.
Actually, the Office of the Kings County District Attorney (KCDA) should have finally dropped all charges, especially since their primary witness will not be put on the stand, because he, “self immolated” by offering up contradictory versions. But as I predicted that is not what happened.
Instead, the KCDA tossed a grenade at the career of a respected law enforcement official. They accepted fabricated flimsy charges that came from the same sources who gave them this lousy case and went to a judge outside the case to get a protective order to not have the “investigation” be public knowledge. They then used that protective order to insist they needed more time to investigate. The fact that there was this order was discussed in chambers and the judge acquiesced even though it pertained to a witness who was not going to used. It is intimidating for a judge to reject an order whose contents she cannot see. The judge gave the KCDA a three week adjournment. Kellner’s lawyer protested, but to no avail.
In open court, ADA Joe Alexis was already laying the groundwork for his next adjournment by mentioning his vacation plans in August. It should have been Nick Batsides who looked a little green behind the gills. That’s because of the accumulating evidence of his sloppy handling of this case.
He accepted the case on the say-so of his boss, Mike Vecchione, who got it from Artie Aidala (Hynes’ buddy and Lebovits’ lawyer). He never did due-diligence because everyone was sure that Kellner would plead guilty to a misdemeanor. When that didn’t happen he relied on a decision to (in their office jargon) “shitcan” the case and leave it dormant until after the election. Now Nick is flailing desperately.
A proper inquiry with sex crimes would have established that Kellner, far from being an extortionist, was the man doing the most to assist in the prosecution of sex abuse in the Hasidic community and was furious about attempts to bribe him into giving up his crusade. Kellner reported these attempts to police and KCDA staff.
I realize Nick was only following orders from Vecchione who probably discouraged checking-in with the Sex Crimes unit. However, Nick will probably not have any written proof that he was following orders. That is not how things are done at the KCDA. So when the DA finally abandons the case Nick may be forced to take the fall. It is too late for him to blame his boss, Michael Vecchione. Officially the case is his, though Mike’s fingerprints are all over it.
Demonstration Announcement: There will be a demonstration tomorrow (Thurs. 7/11/13- 11 a.m.) in front of the KCDA’s office to demand the exoneration of Samuel Kellner. I anticipate serious turnout and media coverage in spite of the short notice. If you care about this injustice please attend.
Update: I have substantially revised my report on Monday’s court session which was originally just a breaking news snippet. Please return to it.
Media coverage: For a good overview see the Village Voice. The Gothamist has links to some other sources. All the major NYC dailies have written about most the recent court appearance but they tend not to link to outside sources. The best single reporter on this case is Hella Winston who published a series of articles in the Jewish Week starting in January and continuing up till today. At this point there are too many reporters on this case to list them all and there are more in the wings snooping around.