On Wednesday, August 15, Joel Rudin, the attorney for Jabbar Collins, served a subpoena on ADA Barbara Burke, the employee of the Brooklyn DA who was mysteriously and abruptly transferred from her work on the Collins lawsuit, to a dead-end job. A source told me it was because she was insisting on being ethical. Rudin seems to share that view.
The subpoena is scaring the top brass at the Brooklyn DA. Sources tell me that ADA Burke met with Deputy District Attorney, Dino Amoroso, and Jerry Schmetterer, Director of Public Information. This is a lot of executive attention for an employee in the doghouse.
The Collins lawsuit is a hot potato this political season. It came up during the recent debate between Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes and his challenger in the September primary, attorney Kenneth Thompson.
According the New York Times reporter, Michael Powell:
The problem for Mr. Hynes is that he keeps doubling down as his narratives get overturned. Two months ago, a top aide and close friend of the district attorney, the rackets chief Michael Vecchione, sat for a deposition brought by a man, Jabbar Collins, who had served 16 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Mr. Vecchione, who is accused of withholding crucial evidence in that case, suffered a catastrophic memory loss. In that deposition, he offered at least 380 variations on “I do not recall.”
He did not remember details of a 2012 meeting, in which he and the sex crimes chief advised prosecutors not to write down conflicting statements by sex workers as they often defend their pimps at first.
This led to a great uproar, as prosecutors argued this would violate their legal responsibility to turn exculpatory comments over to defense lawyers.
The New York Post confirmed the meeting had taken place. Another person told me that as well. “I guess there was a spirited back and forth,” Amy Feinstein, a top deputy, said in an interview on Wednesday.
Is Mr. Hynes concerned, I asked, that Mr. Vecchione can remember nothing of it?
“You’re asking me to speculate,” said another top deputy, Dino Amoroso.
Mr. Hynes in fact vigorously defends Mr. Vecchione.
Hynes is doubling down on the narrative but his staff isn’t sticking to the party line. Chief Assistant District Attorney Amy Feinstein usually avoids talking to reporters. Normally, Deputy District Attorney Dino Amoroso, who has a key role in managing the DA’s response to the Collins lawsuit, would refuse to talk to the NY Times unless he could say something supportive of Vecchione. Yet now he talks. Granted he refused to “speculate.” Still, this is less than the spirited defense one expects.
Attempts will be made to quash the subpoena. If they fail, they might advise ADA Burke to emulate Michael Vecchione who “suffered a case of amnesia” and claimed he “couldn’t recall aspects of the case 324 times over five hours.”
Unfortunately for the DA, Barbara Burke probably remembers misconduct they would rather erase from the record. I am guessing she also has the good legal judgment to secure her own counsel to deal with a deposition or a potential unfair personnel decision to sanction or fire her.
However much the office of the DA wants to erase any memory of that infamous session with Lauren Hersh, facts are stubborn things and feigned amnesia will be overtaken by indelible memory.