This morning the NY Post’s Josh Saul reported that the ADAs in charge of prosecuting Samuel Kellner on extortion charges told their boss, Michael Vecchione, that there was no evidence to justify prosecuting the case. Vecchione removed them from the case and they were demoted and transferred to another bureau by Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes’s #2 ADA, Amy Feinstein. Vecchione is notorious for wrongful prosecutions, most famously the conviction of Jabbar Collins which was overturned by the courts and is now the subject of a 150 million dollar lawsuit because Collins spent 16 years in jail on those trumped up charges.
For a while now I have been saying the case would be dismissed for lack of evidence. Apparently, the demoted veteran ADAs, Joseph (Joe) Alexis and Nicholas Batsidis also felt that way. I believe they concluded that Vecchione was pushing the extortion charges against Kellner to help weaken the sex abuse case against Baruch Lebovits. Lebovits’ defense attorney is a close friend of DA Hynes and chair of the Friends of Joe Hynes. Powerful Satmar protectors of Lebovits include his cousin, Moshe (Gabbai) Friedman. In collaboration with Aidala, and Lebovits’ appellate attorneys, Allan and Nathan Dershowitz they pumped the case full of nonsensical evidence. Rackets accepted it uncritically and indicted Kellner. They probably expected to avoid ever having the justify the case because they thought Kellner would plead guilty in return for not being sentenced to jail and the conviction would bolster Lebovits’ claim that he was innocent of the abuse charges and was merely a victim of extortion. Seems like he is at it again.
I believe Vecchione knows the Kellner case can never be prosecuted. But a number of informed sources tell me that the plan is to keep the Kellner case alive at least until after a plea bargain with Lebovits which will not require any additional prison time. The function of the Kellner case is to create a narrative about extortion to justify the sweetheart plea bargain. Lebovits’ attorneys, Alan and Nathan Dershowitz have been hawking this absurd back story to journalists, most notably to Forward reporter, Paul Berger.