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Monday, November 24, 2008

Prosecutor Lashes Judge

Worthy of Review

Suffolk Prosecutor Calls Mixed Verdicts Issued by Judge in Bribery Trial 'Clearly Political'
The New York Times by BRUCE LAMBERT - May 29, 2004

Suffolk County's district attorney took the rare step of lashing out at a judge yesterday accusing him of issuing ''political'' verdicts in the closely watched bribery trial of a former Brookhaven official and a paving contractor. District Attorney Thomas J. Spota criticized Judge Gary J. Weber of Suffolk County Court hours after he acquitted Patricia Strebel, a former town councilwoman and more recently the highway superintendent, of the most serious charges in the case, levied a $2,500 fine for misdemeanors and imposed no jail time. At the same time, the judge convicted the co-defendant, Stephen Milvid, the contractor, of numerous felonies, subjecting him to years in prison. Prosecutors accused Mr. Milvid of rewarding Ms. Strebel with a $10,000 campaign donation in return for inflating the bills for the paving and curb work by his company, Debut Concrete, by $72,000, and cheating the town of $136,000 in landfill fees by dumping debris at no charge. He was also accused of underpaying his workers by $249,000. Mr. Spota issued a sparse statement saying, ''I believe that this was clearly a political verdict.''

Judge Weber is a Republican, as is Ms. Strebel. Mr. Spota is a Republican-turned-Democrat who has gained a reputation for prosecuting corruption cases during his nearly two and half years in office. Most of the targets have been Republicans, who hold a majority of the public offices in Suffolk, but some targets have been Democrats. Many of the investigations have focused on Brookhaven, the most populous and politically powerful town in Suffolk, whose scandals have earned it the nickname Crookhaven. Mr. Spota's spokesman, Robert Clifford, could not recall another instance in which the district attorney had publicly criticized a judge. Although Mr. Spota did not elaborate, his assistant in the case, John S. Prudenti, said: ''The judge's verdict to convict Milvid but not his co-defendant defies logic and the law. The court acknowledged that Mr. Milvid couldn't do what he had done without the help of Ms. Strebel, and even then they didn't find her guilty.'' Judge Weber could not be reached for comment. A court spokesman said that since the contractor's sentencing is pending, it would be inappropriate for the judge to comment. In the nonjury trial, Judge Weber acquitted Ms. Strebel of the felony charges against her, like grand larceny, but convicted her of falsifying business records and official misconduct misdemeanors.

Despite her indictments, Ms. Strebel ran for re-election last year as the highwa superintendent. She won a Republican primary but lost the general election. Mr. Milvid's lawyer, Paul Gianelli, echoed the district attorney's criticism of the verdicts, but from the vantage point of the defense. ''If my client's co-defendant was found not guilty, then I believe he should have been found not guilty as well,'' Mr. Gianelli said. In the trial, Ms. Strebel said she padded the bills to cover additional stump and root removal; prosecutors said the work was covered by the contract. Judge Weber ruled that Mr. Milvid's campaign donations were not bribes, but were in the tradition of contractors contributing to public officials to keep ''good will.'' A third defendant, Daniel Wirshup, the public works superintendent for Patchogue, was acquitted on charges that he used similar bill-padding schemes with Mr. Milvid.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE THIS GUY! IS HE STILL AROUND?

Anonymous said...

I believe this article is very unfortunate. It appears to me that the person who posted the 2004 story wanted to suggest that Judge Weber is corrupt. That DA Tom Spota is courageous enough to say it. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

Judge Weber is one of only a very few Suffolk County judges that has not been infected by an out of control district attorney. Most criminal court judges take their marching orders from Spota. Judge Weber is not such a judge.

The NY Times reporter that wrote this article has been watching the Suffolk CJS very closely over the years. It reported almost exclusively on the Marty Tankleff proceedings. It is my opinion that Mr.Lambert would never write a piece to support Spota unless the reasons were so compelling that his integrity would force him to do so.

What happened in this case is that the district attorney wanted to remove Brookhaven Supervisor LaValle from office so that Brian Foley could take over.

Spota's detectives paid several visits to Mr.Wirshup and told him that unless he talked about the 'guy', never mentioning LaValle by name, that unless he told them something they would drag his name through the mud by areesting him and putting his name in the newspapers for his child's schoolmates to see. They went one step furhter and told him to fire his own attorney and hire on one "that works well with us". And they mentioned his name. That person is rumored to be the heir apparent to Tom Spota.

You see, the problem with the Spota people saying that is that it was TAPED. It is now, or was ( I haven't kept up to date ) a federal civil rights case in the EDNY.

So if the poster that put the lead story in wanted to stir up the readers imagination of corruption in Suffolk County, I would suggest to that writer that there is corruption in Suffolk County (see 1989 NYS SIC report ) both Spota and the attorney that 'works well with us' are mentioned in that scathing document are at the core of corruption, not
Judge Weber.

Anonymous said...

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SUFFOLK COUNTY there was a brave judge known as Stuart Namm. He was known once as a hanging judge - just the type of judge a cop would like. The only problem with the judge is that he didn't like criminals, even police criminals. I suspect that he gave the police a lot of lee-way, but what the police were doing in his court was outrageous. There was no lie to big or small to tell.

Judge Namm complained a lot to whoever he thought could do something about it. It fell on deaf ears. That caused Judge Namm to write a letter to Gov.Cuomo to request an investigation of misconduct of the police and district attorney. That was why the 1989 SIC investigation took place.

At that time, Mr.Spota, a big police buff, a buff that makes no secret when later he has cops running his campaign for election in the 2002 campaign, was at the time the in house counsel for the Suffolk Detectives Union.

Good Ole Tommy Boy, the same Tommy that criticized Judge Weber, got in front of the line and organized cops and robbers to exert poltical pressure on Judge Namm's poltical party NOT to re-nominate him when his term expired. And that is what happened. That lesson has not been lost on a lot of Judges now in office.

In a very terrible case of DA and police corruption I was involved with, a judge told the ADA that he knew where the line of questioning was going. that matter was settled at pre-trial hearings. The judge expressly told the ADA that if he went there, the judge was going to call a mistrial. The ADA said he understood - but he was going to do it anyway.

THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE ADA DID ONLY MOMENTS LATER.

I guess the judge had to check with Spota to get his permission to call a mistrial, and he was told NO.

That portion of the above account was memorialized on the daily transcripts, but disappeard on the appeal transcripts.

The CJC had been advised of this. As expected, nothing happened with it other than they ruled the judge did nothing wrong.

I am speaking not so much of being a coward and getting abused, I am speaking on altering an official court document to save him embarassment. But not to worry judge, every lawyer and even the cleaner knows about it and they all laugh behind your back.

kato said...

the fix was in and DA Spota spoke out. But has the DA or anyone filed any charges against Judge Weber? That's where the metal meets the road!

Anonymous said...

The FIX was in? buddy, you ain't got a clue.

No love lost with me and the Suffolk Courts. Corrupt and crooked as a barrel full of rattlesnakes.

Any negative comment on a judge in suffolk from anyone and I would have jumped all over it.

Judge Weber has integrity. That, my friend is in very short supply east of Route 110.

One of the 'elements' of the 'bribe' allegation of the man that was acquitted is that he requested a vendor doing business with him to hire on his young son for a summer job. His son was making sounds that he didn't want to go on to higher education. Dad wanted to give him a front row view of hard work. The kid took down $10.00 an hour and came home each night and collapsed from exhaustion. Digging ditches is hard work.

Two guys talking to each with common problems - kids. One asks the other for a favor and there is no gain involved- $10.00 an hour to dig ditches?

By the way there was an ADA that commented the fix was in when a favorable ruling came the way of the defense by the judge. It is just too bad the ADA didn't have his usual foreign object stuck in his throat when he made that nasty comment.

Anonymous said...

IF THE FIX was in as you say the judge would not have stood in the way of the acquitted guy and allowed the defense to call in the detectives that tried to get him to lie. It is on tape. Not once, but more than once. I have heard that that was confirmed by the detective in the federal case because he had no choice but to admit to it.

While Judge Weber is one of the finest jurists in the County, he will only go so far to keep the DA and his criminals in check.

I think Judge Weber had to do a stint in civil court. banished from Spota's Court because he 'doesn't work well with him."

Anonymous said...

KATO, yeah Spota is still around. It wasn't Judge Weber that was cited by the NYS State Investigation report that handed out his private practice business cards to police officers for arrest referrals, it was Tom Spota.
There was ample testimony to support that charge and it was referred to the then SCDA Patrick Henry, now Judge Henry to investigate. Want to know how the SIC reported that 'investigtion'? Henry had one of his bureau chiefs call Tom Spota;s law partner if this was true. The partner said it wasn't: case closed.

It wasn't Judge Weber that organized the police thru his representation of the cops as In house counsel for their unions to oust Judge Namm. It was Tom Spota.

You want to read more? Go to www.martytankleff.org, and read the SIC Report. It will hold you mesmerized for the entire almost 200 pages of non stop corruption.

While you are on the site, read the letters from Judge Namm and see if you can get an idea as to what happened to him for urging the governor to investigate corruption in suffolk county.

The FIX was in. don't make me laugh. Not even Judge Weber, an honest judge had to courage to allow the defense to bring in the detectives to be cross examined as to what they told the man who was ultimately acquitted. they told him to fire his lawyer and hire one that worked well with them. Judge reportedly said this trial wasn't the place for this. At least he had the courage to acquit the defendant.

Get your facts straight before posting.

Anonymous said...

I think they both suck

avessia said...

www.youtube.com Suffolk County Court Corruption
To date Chris McPartland or anyone in Suffolk County has not assisted me in any manne and have allowed Judges to misrule and violate the "Color of Law",deny due process,and be bias.When are you gonna investigate this instead of talking to me hanging up on me and allowing this corruption to go on in Suffolk County Courts. The system is broken in NY. I now live in another state to fight this because my children and me deserve justice and my children don't deserve to have me ripped out of there lives.The officials in Suffolk County are unprofessional,corrupt pigs violating laws,ethics and breaking laws this is corruption at it's worst and I refuse to be violated the judges in my case rulings are void as per law qouted on my site.I want my kids,justice and damages and Craig Berkhan and Larry Vessia in jail for perjury and all involved sued and held accountable for there actions.
Adele Vessia www.youtube.com Suffolk County Court Corruption

Anonymous said...

could anyone tell me how I can prove the minutes on case was tamper with.. Judge Weber was my Judge my case involved police misconduct is the reason I was facing charges, thank God Judge Weber saw that.. but the minutes in my case don't reflect what happen in court.. help please

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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