Chaim Levin is to be commended for acting on the spur of the moment to call a demonstration with only two day’s notice that succeeded in bringing major attention to the unfair prosecution of Samuel Kellner and yet more media coverage.
I have written a lot about this hideous miscarriage of justice. Hella Winston has written much more and her writing is informed by immense amounts of research and professional reporting. It was good to see Gary Rosenblatt, editor of the Jewish Week, praise her work.
Her report on the demonstration shows that many others are realizing that the prosecution of Kellner is a gross miscarriage of justice. She quotes Kenneth Thompson, who is running against Hynes in the September primary.
What the DA has to explain in the Kellner case is how is it possible that two different units in his office, the Sex Crimes unit, which brought the case against Mr. Lebovits, and the Rackets Division, which brought the case against Mr. Kellner, brought two cases that are diametrically opposed. It does not make sense. And both of those cases are still pending. How is that possible?
The question is partly rhetorical. The sad truth is that the Kellner case was brought at the behest of Lebovits and pumped into Michael (Mike) Vecchione’s Rackets Division by Lebovits’ attorney, Arthur (Artie) Aidala, a very close friend of DA Charles J (Joe) Hynes.
Winston quotes Abe George, another candidate for DA,
“It’s amazing to me that when Sam first approached the DA’s office to say his son was abused, they said, “That’s not good enough, you’ve got to go out there and find more victims,’ … Can you imagine, you’re a victim of a rape and you come to the DA’s office and they say, ‘You’ve got to find more cases against this guy who is raping people?’ … But Sam does that and then all the sudden, there are more powerful people [who come to them], and instead of protecting the victim, they [go] after Sam. There’s an internal conflict between guys like Mike Vecchione and the Sex Crimes unit.
Obviously, Thompson and George, as candidates for DA, have a political interest in criticizing Hynes. But they are not fools. If they thought Hynes had a chance of pulling off a conviction, they would steer clear of the controversy. As experienced prosecutors they smell a rat and anticipate a fiasco.
Meanwhile, I assume Joe Hynes is furious about this fusilade, especially since he is getting a ton of negative media coverage by all the major outlets including the New York Times.
The word in the DA’s office is that Mike Vecchione is trying to salvage his deteriorating reputation by smearing Kellner. It seems he passed out an excerpt of Dershowitz’s appellate brief to a reporter in an attempt to tilt media coverage. That excerpt is also circulating by email in the Hasidic community though I do not know if it came from the reporter, Vecchione, Artie Aidala, Dershowitz, or the Lebovits camp. It gets harder and harder to tell these actors apart.
I don’t think this excerpt will work its way into media coverage. Any responsible reporter will contact Kellner’s attorney, Michael Dowd, who will refute the claim with some devastating facts, also on the record.