Talkline with Zev Brenner has a large radio audience in the ultra orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. This lucky show does not have to compete for its audience with television or the movies. Many of its listeners aren’t even on the Internet.
Two days ago (7/24/13), Talkline, emailed their program for the evening broadcast announcing one of its segments, “Brooklyn DA, Charles Joe Hynes looks back at the Crown Heights 1991 Pogrom: Who was to Blame & other Issues.” Michael Powell of the New York Times (NYT) Tweeted, “DA Hynes [is] absurd to call Crown Heights riots a pogrom. Terrible, but neither massacre, nor state condoned. Words matter.”
I agree with Powell. There was a fatal stabbing in Crown Heights, not a mob of Cossacks and peasants stoked by vodka and by a priest shrieking “The Jews killed Jesus.” These days, most of the Cossacks in Brooklyn are extras for theatrical productions of Fiddler on the Roof.
Powell may be telling the truth but Hynes got the politics right. He spoke at some length about the riot, patronizing former NYC Mayor, David Dinkins, as a good man who mishandled things. I assume Hynes has a different speech for African-American audiences.
Most of the nineteen minute segment was taken up with banal campaign blather. This was an infomercial disguised as an interview. Zev Brenner should have charged him for campaign air time as he has on other occasions. (You can tell Hynes did not pay because there were commercial interruptions. Paid segments on Zev Brenner run without commercial interruptions). Since this was a campaign speech disguised as a news interview I expect his election opponent, Kenneth Thompson, to demand the same under the FCC “equal time” rule.
Hynes did get down and dirty with some misleading specifics about Samuel Kellner. This is not his favorite topic but it has been thrust upon him. His opponent Ken Thompson has come out in support of Kellner as a victim of improper prosecution. More important for this audience, NYS Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents an ultra orthodox district, has also come out publicly calling for Hynes to drop the prosecution. Hynes has also been battered by media coverage of this case including reports in the NYT and the Jewish Week and by a demonstration outside his office. All these forces converge on the argument that not only is Kellner innocent but the prosecution has been marred by gross misconduct (see here, here, here, and here). In fact Samuel Kellner is the Hasid who has done the most to facilitate the successful prosecution of Hasidic child molesters.
In short, for those not inclined to read the links above, Kellner is being prosecuted as a favor to Arthur Aidala, a close buddy of Hynes who is defending indicted molester Baruch Lebovits. If the case against Kellner, alleging extortion with the threat of bring false witnesses against Lebovits is sustained, Lebovits has a line of defense. Michael Vecchione, the notorious head of Rackets took the case without paying attention to its flaws as a favor to Aidala, expecting Kellner to take a plea bargain in return for no time in jail. Now that the case has fallen apart, the DA just wants to postpone the denouement till after the primary election In September.
On July 8th,In spite of these pressures, Hynes yet again, avoided taking the case to trial, as scheduled. Instead he contrived to keep the judge in the dark by going to another judge to get a protective order about an unrelated investigation. ADAs Nick Batsidis and Joe Alexis then used the aura of that order and an investigation into Zalman Ashkenazi (who manipulated the now discredited witness) to claim they needed time to complete this other investigation. I believe they perpetrated a fraud on the court because the other cases are unrelated. But they got their adjournment till July 29th.
Now Hynes has finally let the cat out of the bag. Like many other hot cases, this one is being put off until after the primary election on September 10th. In his words:
I would think [Kellner’s trial will be held] probably some time in the fall… It is a peripheral issue that has to be resolved… So I think we are probably looking at a trial in October or November.
Hynes also repeated what nobody in his office believes, including Joe himself:
I believe there was a substantial effort by Mr. Kellner to gain money for his own benefit by making up stories. I think we have a substantial case.
At this point their only evidence for that claim is the testimony of Meyer Lebovits, the son of Baruch Lebovits. All their other witnesses have dropped out or been rejected by the prosecution itself. At one point the DA claimed to have a tape recording to prove their case but they now know that their translation of the Hungarian Yiddish was inadequate and does not support the claim.
The DA needs to be pressured to either go to trial or drop the case. If you can, SHOW UP on Monday July 29th, 9:30 a.m., Kings County NYS Supreme Court Criminal Term, 320 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 in front of Judge A. M. Donnelly.
Joe Hynes has to be convinced that he cannot continue this travesty of justice for sordid political motives. By your presence, you can send that message. You can count on media coverage in the courtroom to amplify the message: