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Friday, October 30, 2009

Jury Finds Against Anderson Retaliation (UPDATED 5pm)


A federal jury found late Thursday, October 29, 2009 that Thomas Cahill, Sherry Cohen and David Spokony had not fired former Manhattan Ethics Committee staff attorney Christine Anderson in retaliation for her exposure of widespread corruption by the "whitewashing" of complaints against attorneys in the Bronx and Manhattan. Earlier in the day, Judge Scheindlin had found that Cahill, Cohen and Spokony were knowledgeable of the "whitewashing," but that ruling was read into the record in open court only after the jury had left the courtroom. Anderson's legal team is reported to be considering a declaratory judgment action in Federal Court to declare that the defense of Cohen, Cahill and Spokony by the New York State Attorney General's office was improper as it raises a series of conflicts and requires that the defendants be provided independent outside counsel.

Ex-Lawyer for NY Attorney Watchdog Loses Suit Over Firing
The New York Law Journal by Daniel Wise - October 30, 2009

A federal jury took barely three hours yesterday to throw out claims from a former staff attorney with the First Department's disciplinary committee that she had been fired in retaliation for the exercise of her First Amendment rights. The unanimous, eight-member Southern District jury rejected the civil rights suit brought by Christine A. Anderson, who claimed she was fired in 2007 because she objected that officials at the committee were "whitewashing" complaints and giving preferential treatment to attorneys with connections. The jury credited the claims of the Office of Court Administration and three individual defendants that Ms. Anderson had been fired for insubordination. The state argued that she had exaggerated her complaints and had spurned numerous opportunities to repair her frayed relationship with her direct supervisor, Sherry K. Cohen, the committee's deputy chief counsel and a defendant in the case. The other two individual defendants were Thomas J. Cahill, who at the time was the committee's chief counsel, and David Spokony, the First Department's deputy clerk. One of Ms. Anderson's lawyers, Rory J. Bellantoni, in his closing statement yesterday morning had asked the jury to award Ms. Anderson $298,000 for lost wages and "substantial" damages for pain and suffering. The jury, which returned a unanimous verdict as required, consisted of five women and three men. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who presided over the three-day trial, had dismissed Ms. Anderson's claims that she had been discriminated against on the basis of race and national origin on a motion for summary judgment. Ms. Anderson is Jamaican. Mr. Bellantoni, who left the bench over the summer after six years as County Court judge in Westchester, said after the verdict that Ms. Anderson is "weighing her options." John McConnell, the First Department's clerk, said, "We are delighted with the verdict." The verdict embraced Assistant Attorney General Lee A. Adlerstein's closing argument that Ms. Anderson "resented" Ms. Cohen's detailed style of management and resisted numerous efforts to repair her relationship with Ms. Cohen. In 2001, Ms. Anderson, now 64, was hired as a staff attorney at the committee which is responsible for policing the conduct of attorneys practicing in Manhattan and the Bronx. Ms. Cohen, who had been with the committee since 1993, became deputy chief counsel in 2003. Sometime thereafter, she became Ms. Anderson's supervisor. There was no dispute that the relationship between the two was fraught. Both lawyers testified that in July 2006 a confrontation had occurred in Ms. Anderson's office when Ms. Cohen, with the door closed behind her, refused to accede to Ms. Anderson's demand that she be let out. A panel convened by the First Department's then clerk, Catherine Wolfe, to investigate an "incident report" filed by Ms. Anderson, resulted in a decision that Ms. Cohen should apologize to Ms. Anderson and take a management course. The panel also recommended that Mr. Cahill make it clear that the lines of authority within the office made Ms. Cohen the direct supervisor of Ms. Anderson.

Deteriorating Relationship

Ms. Anderson had testified that her relationship with Ms. Cohen began to deteriorate in August 2005, when the two disagreed over the wording of a private admonition that both agreed should be given to a lawyer. Ms. Cohen wanted references that the attorney had made misrepresentations taken out. When Ms. Anderson refused, Ms. Cohen took the file and rewrote the recommendation, which had to be approved by the committee's policy committee. Prior to Ms. Cohen's revision, Ms. Anderson testified that she had objected that the report had been "whitewashed" and "sanitized" to affect the outcome of the case. As the relationship became increasingly tense, Ms. Anderson testified that she was fearful of Ms. Cohen and refused to meet with her alone. Ms. Wolfe meanwhile counseled Ms. Cohen to take notes of her contacts with Ms. Anderson and to have a second person in the room. Mr. Bellantoni described Ms. Wolfe's advice as designed to develop a paper trail to create a pretext for firing Ms. Anderson. Ms. Anderson testified that in fall 2006 she again clashed with Ms. Cohen over the handling of several other cases. In February 2007, Ms. Anderson stated, she had complained to Mr. Cahill that attorneys with political connections or ties to those on the 64-member disciplinary committee got preferential treatment. The same was true, she said, for lawyers who hired attorneys who had previously worked at the committee. However, Mr. Adlerstein in his closing dismissed claims that Ms. Anderson had complained directly to Mr. Cahill, saying she only had made "general statements" that lacked specifics. Referring to the fact that Mr. Cahill, a former Southern District U.S. attorney, denied that the February 2007 conversation ever took place, Mr. Adlerstein charged Ms. Anderson had made the conversation up "out of whole cloth." Ms. Anderson had "exaggerated" the incident with Ms. Cohen in her office in an effort to get rid of her as her supervisor, Mr. Adlerstein said. Mr. Bellantoni's partner, John Lovett, had delivered the opening statement for Ms. Anderson and handled much of the witness examinations. He was not in court yesterday due to a family medical emergency. Assistant Attorney General Wesley E. Bauman had delivered the opening statement for the four state defendants.


Calling Andy Cuomo said...

I always wondered how the hell Cuomo could be defending those 3 criminals (Cohen, Cahill and Spokony) when he should have been PROSECUTING them. Has Andrew Cuomo looked the other way on criminal acts within the DDC, and within his own office, just because he doesn't want to piss off insiders and friends of insiders. And all because he wants to be Governor? If this is true, and I think it is, he should be ashamed of himself. If you want to expose something, expose this and expose it VERY LOUDLY!

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Nicole Corodo testify? Was she threatened by OCA? Someone should file a complaint against Scheindlin because Scheindlin knew that Corodo, who was supposed to be a witness for Anderson, was threatened by Andral Bratton- her DDC supervisor. And she was probably threatened by others also. Sheindlin ignored this tampering with a federal witness, and she should be removed from the bench.

Anonymous said...

Read into the Record without the Jury?

What was the purpose of that?

To Pretend the Jury considered it?

Anonymous said...

Scheindlin had the fix in on this case very early on.

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line is: WAY too many questions to be answered; "maybe" something comes from the Kerik news above; "maybe" something comes from this which will prove to be great strategy.

But first bottom line is TOO MANY New York residents have Actual, Real, Everyday situations that need Redress, Relief and Freedom from Corruption including a Father who has been Fighting the corruption for 9 years with his sons being TRaumatized Daily by NY State and BOTTOM LINE is that Lippman himself was involved in recent SHAM decision in his case YET LIPPMAN COULD and maybe SHOULD have been at the CENTER of the ANDERSON Trial since he gave a Sworn Statement AND WAs involved in the Firing;

SO EVERYONE that has been LEAD ON about HOW GREAT the Anderson trial was going to prove to be to clean up the corruption at the TOP in the STATE has a Right to some Answers to a LOT OF Questions starting now and not being lead down the path of "maybe maybe maybe" and "just wait for this" and blah blah blah.

And the NICOLE not testifying and the other info that did not come out needs to be answered. Unless and until people see indictments and actual change no one will believe anything or very skeptical for reasonable reasons.

Question is: who and what office is and can actually do something instead of another year and then hearing, well it was garcia's fault, blah blah blah. that question becomes even more relevant when there appears to have been GOLDEN opportunity to have Lippman in the middle and that is starting at the TOP right?

Anonymous said...

In Orange County there is a case where the custody and divorce was fixed involving a law guardian with connection to Cuomo's Office. The end result the litigant has been erradicated from the children's lives secondary to this corrupt law guardian, together with the attorneys and the judge who was part of the OCA. The end result of the story the children have been sexually exploited and the authorities and the court have ignored all evidence of case fixing and child porn. This is New York for you where well connected attorneys are using the court for racketerring and more scary to sexually exploit children. Hey Cuomo is it true child porn is not illegal in New York as long as the minor keeps quiet about been photographed, raped and pandered?

Anonymous said...

Up here in the Hudson Valley region near the capital of Albany folks have heard of those horrible stories involving children from Orange and Rockland and related counties. That begs the question though of WHY Lippman was NOT questioned or Subpoenaed in Anderson??

One would reasonably think that if the Top Judge was shown in Anderson's case as Complicit in illegal conduct it may be leverage to get Lippman to roll over and cooperate with the rest of the system problems which apparently is allegedly happening with Kerik according to the article above?

So WHO kept Lippman out of it and WHY? Who is calling the shots and for WHAT agenda?

And HOW LONG will the PUPPET Strings be pulled for other agendas while children are being harmed on a Daily basis with NO action being taken at all?

Anonymous said...

Nicole did not testify, something is wrong!
Atleast they are showing they can make our courtrooms a circus, reading after the jury leaves, huh!

Anonymous said...

Nicole did not testify, something is wrong!
Atleast they are showing they can make our courtrooms a circus, reading after the jury leaves, huh!

Anonymous said...

If the judge stated on the record they were knowledgeable of whitewashing, why haven't they been charged?

THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!! said...

Cahill, Spokany, and COHEN hugged each other when they heard the decision from the JURY yesterday...I hope they do the same thing when they're ALL INDICTED!!!! He who laughs LAST laughs BEST!!!!! that also includes the "CLEANER" NAOMI GOLDSTEIN.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Anderson Trial yesterday when the verdict was read!!! Shortly after Judge Scheindlin dismissed the Jury, she went back to thank them for doing such a great job, she was so HAPPY that she was SMILING from EAR TO would think that she was thanking them for returning a NONE GUILTY VERDICT!!

Disgusted said...

Why didn't Nicole testify? Why didn't other people testify? Why, Why, Why? Was the fix in? Christine Anderson got screwed and that's the bottom line!

Anonymous said...

Indictments need to come down NOW!!!!!!!!

Are they UNTOUCHABLE? Are they being PROTECTED? and by WHOM?

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely crystal clear or Should be that Faith will not be restored until SOME tangible change occurs. All the Defendants at Anderson were likely back at their desks today, having the state pay for Beers tonight blah blah while Lippman was NOT even made a witness. Some deep hidden secret strategy is great but will only be deemed great when indictments and tangible action occurs and change is brought. Perhaps it is on the way but all of us have heard that before time and again. Actions speak louder than words. Even Irish Catholic moms ( and others ) say: SHOW ME!! don't try to "TELL ME".

Anonymous said...

needs to go to an out of state court.

T Finnan said...

My petiton for redress of grievances: (send your own declaration and petition, if you have the courage and have my thanks and the thanks of all the victims.)

Will Judge Scheindlin do her duty? Here's my declaration and request to Scheindlin sent today. We, The People, will win.
October 30, 2009

To: Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Judge
Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse
500 Pearl St.
New York, NY 10007-1312

Re: “We, the people, expect the Hon. Judge Scheindlin will do her duty under Canon 3D(5),” Anderson Trial, Protecting The People

Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin;
Possibly due from failure to plea, the jury’s charge did not include the 1st amendment right “to petition the Government for redress of grievances.” Neither were punitive damages mentioned, although “The majority of courts of appeal agree punitive damages may be appropriate even where only nominal damages are rewarded.” King v. Macri, 993 F2nd 294, 297, 298 (2nd Cir. 1993) (citing cases).
The crimes exposed at trial were not addressed in this civil action. These crimes are my grievances and the grievances of the class of people whose complaints were “cleansed,” and those of the class “The People of NY.”
We were harmed when the 1st Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee violated Federal Criminal Law § 241 Conspiracy against rights and when the NY Attorney General failed his duty under NY Executive Law § 63 “ protect the interest of the state...” The State’s interest naturally conflicts with the interest of corrupt lawyers and corrupt government lawyers.
This petition to you, Hon. Scheindlin, mirrors Lord Nelson’s semaphore signal to his ships, "England expects that every man will do his duty.”
“We, the people, expect the Hon. Judge Scheindlin will do her duty under Canon 3D(5).” Act against attorneys, including the NY Attorney General’s Office for violating DR 1-102 A (1), (3), (4) and (5) of the NY Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility and NY penal laws: § 195.00, § 195.05, § 175.20, §175.25,and NY Executive Law § 63

Sincerely yours,

Terence Finnan
PO Box 354, Keene NY 12942
Phone 518-576-9734

Anonymous said...

And what did you expect from Saint Andrew, Patron Saint of Crooked Lawyers and Judges? Saint Andrew serves his supplicants and ignores the People. Saint Andrew's father, Mario, must love his son's malfeasance. If there's a God, may Saint Andrew and his father, Mario, receive their just reward.

in the know said...

I saw one day of the trial. The lawyer Lovett was very good, especially considering what he was left with after the Judge and Anderson's former attorney John Beranbaum destroyed Anderson's original claims. If you want insight into the early fix in this case, see what the lawyer did in June- he let the State of NY out of the case- this is clear malpractice. Also, I still can't believe that Scheindlin allowed the retaliation claim to survive but got rid of the wrongful termination claim- this is simply bizarre as the elements involved go hand in hand. This issue alone would result in a reversal on appeal. With Baranbaum's complicity, Sheindlin structured a perfect loser of a case to go to any jury. Scheindlin is a very crafty judge. I'd like to know who she's talked to about this case.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately employment cases are for the benefit of the employee only and any outside complaints will not be addressed in it...unless they are attached to those who have participanted in the incident. This case had those narrow guidelines.

The jurors apparently had NO knowledge or experience to ascertain the true NY justice system...and that is the shame of not assessing them as they were chosen...a lawyers big mistake.

I am shocked that the jury listened to testimony about her supervisor (Cohen) attacking her physically and still found no cause, as an employer and supervisor cannot abuse employees without the logical determination that the employer is hostile and thus in position to retaliate.

Juries are always a scary concoction of people to gather and give opinions and decisions. Court people dread their sleepiness during court, their blank stares during most testimony and their attitude during deliberation...which is always very wide ranging from desire to get home, out of touch arrogance to their hate for tearful witnesses. Juries are scary!

But aside from that long time observation, it should be noted that federal court does exparte with OCA relative to matters that affects both courts...a given and a fact. These courts want to protect the integrity of the people view both courts the informaton about corruption will be blocked unless brought by the federal government per an investigation, with indictments of those they can target and prove...never a general indictment of an entire entity. That scenario will never happen.

This case and trial should give all the advocates of judicial reform a lesson in how to go about curing our judicial corruption...which has been instilled into that system for many decades. It will take lots of intelligent,informed and willing to come forward, patient and motivated citizens, workng as detectives to eventually overcome...because overcoming is going to happen.

There are lots of smart and informed people that can out think these judicial politicians and just one day, one event or one source of information..... may secure this change. Never give up, the dark of defeat is a signal that the light of some success has weakened their power...they have been exposed!

Eliot Ivan Bernstein said...

I was at the trial and I heard that they ruled in favor of Anderson on Count 1 and according to Mr. Finnan above the win was that the First Dept violated her first amendment right to free speech, the whistleblowing speech. Then for the next counts for damages against the Cahill, Cohen and Spokony she did not win money damages.
If true, Christine lost a money judgement against three individuals whose total assets she might recover were worth 500k. So she would have a 10 million dollar judgement and collect Cahill's Chevy impala, Cohen's Hyundai and Spokeony's bike and a 9,500,000 judgement against three deadbeats. Remember the state was removed and they had the deep pockets, no other pockets were there. This is what the other side had to rejoice about.
If Finnan is correct and I jumped after Count 1 too, than what did we win? We won everything necessary to force CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS and now trying to avoid the necessary HOUSECLEANING OF THE "CLEANER" will also be CRIMINAL. In the article above, although it too does not mention the first count, we now know further that Cahill, Cohen and Spokony KNEW OF WHITEWASHING OF COMPLAINTS. Perhaps they are taking Kerik deals and singing on those at the top of the mess. Either way the highest ETHICAL REGULATOR OF LAW in NY appears to have been found VIOLATING 1ST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH RE CRIMINAL WHITEWASHING, ASSAULT CHARGES, DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION, THE "CLEANER" aka NAIOMI GOLDSTEIN FIXING CASES FOR US ATTORNEYS, DISTRICT ATTORNEYS and ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS.
The burden is now on all those organziations to begin internal affairs investigations, begin criminal investigations of those named by Anderson and the onion peels.
I love Scheindlin, if Finnan above is correct and she won this count. If true, after the CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS I am sure Anderson's lawyers will somehow appeal, refile, throw deep pockets in like the state and more, as I am sure they were not hoping to get paid at the auction of the Chevy, Hyundai and Bike.
Here comes the Justice League and I must also say if Finnan Above is true that Frank Brady is more heroic for scoring that win and putting this together in total.
I had a dream I was driving Scheindlin to her first day of work on the Supreme Court.
All cases in any way that feel there was WHITEWASHING OR DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION now have everything you need to force your cases be REMOVED by all those handling these matters if the FIRST DEPARTMENT WAS INVOLVED. This also means wherever those matters have elevated or prosecutorial office that were involved, will all have to be RE-INVESTIGATED by THIRD PARTY NON CONFLICTED THIS TIME INVESTIGATORS. I know many of the cases and this is all you need to set you free and get justice, simply someone to review your materials and give them a fair shake. If you all win from that point and Christine was the only one to lose money then build her a castle.
Bat Out of Hell

Anonymous said...

This can be spun in many, many ways. The bottom line is that Anderson lost, she did not get a penny.

Eliot Bernstein said...

Well Anonymous Just Above,
Did she win Count 1 and if so what has she lost and what has she won? Where's the VERDICT, thought this blog was up to date? Pennies were only a small part of the case, so maybe she won the larger part. How about Dan Wise, did he get the story whole and correct or spin spun or is that spun spin?
To those looking to prove their cases that corruption blocked their complaints they had multiple victories and since they were not getting any of the pennies that small part has no matter. Those cases now have absolute revelations from BRAVE Chritstine

Anonymous said...

So it looks like someone on the blog is trying to blame Anderson's lawyer Berenbaum and Scheindlin for allegedly fixing the case early blah blah blah. Well, what did Lovett and partner do upon filing a Notice of Appearance? the lawyers did not even ask for a brief adjournment of the trial and stepped in a case ongoing for two years or more. So what did her Lawyers do to correct the wrongs BEFORE The jury trial began? Or is this all grand strategy spin so everyone keeps believing something happening but really it is not? Hope to be wrong but the proof will be in actions, actions that many have TALKED about for a long time, talk talk talk, which is cheap and not worth a penny. Lets see what happens next and hopefully it is action.

Anonymous said...

although Ms Anderson didn't win money, but she open the door for looking into the OCA' corruption, we reached acknowledgement from the Court, and now no one can deny an action against them

Anonymous said...

The Petters trial has begun and the witness list already is de minus the key persons guilty most.

Paul Traub, Frank Vennes and the protected Jeffries.

The NY Supreme Court case 601805/2002 has nearly 1/2 the docket Under SEAL as Traub knows we caught them red-handed (previously) by docket record faux pas.

Eliot Bernstein said...

The legal defense by the NYAG was not "improper" it was a FRAUD ON THE COURT as he was conflicted and failed to protect the public and violated his office and the court duties. As such the whole thing will need to be reheard if correct from scratch and the jury will have to be informed of the FRAUD ON THE COURT and I wonder if that will affect the outcome. Who cares if it is only for Cohen, Cahill and Spokony's furniture. Funny how the verdict and transcripts are missing, thought the first dept would be ecstatic to post them and this blog??? If it smells like...or looks like and walks like...its a?

Anonymous said...

Although Anderson didn't win her case in the courtroom, she has won great victory for all of us. This issue is far from over- senators and others are already taking notes and will eventually move to get a full investigation of the 1st dept going.

Anonymous said...

To the above writer.."senators and others are already taking notes and will eventually move to get a full investigation of the 1st dept going".

We need more than the 1st dept. investigated..we need the Manhattan DA's office, the NYPD, Federal Judges, State Judges, etc..Let's Pray this will all get done before THANKSGIVING..we need JUSTICE!!!

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