The case of a New York City police officer who was collared in a ticket-fixing scandal has taken a startling twist, with the prime suspect now accused of conspiring to have a key witnesses killed.
Our Great Neck criminal defense lawyers know that it will be critical for the defendant's legal team to carefully review the state's allegations.
The entire ordeal sounds like it could have been something out of a dirty cop movie - which is precisely why it has garnered the headlines. But in real life, the case won't be resolved in 140 minutes. It's going to be an arduous process of analyzing witness testimony, recorded phone calls that reportedly relied heavily on secret codes, and detailed review of bank and insurance records.
If the defendant and his wife, also accused in the case, have any hope of a favorable outcome, it is going to involve a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Here are the basics of what we know of this complex case:
Ticket-fixing among the ranks has long persisted, a well-oiled system for making tickets go away. This resulted in a large-scale, internal investigation into the practice that ultimately resulted in the arrest of 16 officers in October - including the one in question in this case. He was personally charged with attempted grand larceny, attempted robbery, revealing the identity of a confidential informant and allegedly transporting what he believed to be drugs for a dealer.
Following the 43-year-old defendant's arrest, he and his 39-year-old wife reportedly used code while he was incarcerated to discuss hiring someone to execute a key witness in the case. According to prosecutors, the two spoke in code for various people and places, in one instance, using nearly half a dozen aliases for the same individual.
The wife reportedly went so far as to meet with someone she initially believed to be a hit man in her home to complete the transaction, though she stopped short of actually handing over the cash once she began to suspect the interaction was being taped, prosecutors say.
Now all of this might appear to indicate a strong case for the prosecution. But one must consider, in particular, the use of the discussions in code.
Similar issues have been raised regarding the Florida shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin earlier this year, where the main suspect and his wife are accused of talking in code in an effort to conceal assets. His wife was later charged with perjury as a result.
But the success of the prosecutions case in New York will depend on exactly what words were exchanged between the pair, and whether, in actuality, it amounts to code about a murder or simply the discussions between a husband and wife hoping not to have their every word analyzed.
This brings up an important point for anyone incarcerated: Your correspondence with anyone except your lawyer will no longer be considered private. Anything you say over the phone or in written correspondence can later be used against you. This is why it's important not to discuss your case - or any other possibly relevant details - with anyone but your attorney while the case is pending.
We understand this can be extremely difficult, particularly given that if you are awaiting trial on criminal charges, you are likely under an enormous amount of stress. But this is critical because you don't want those conversations being scrutinized, or worse, used against you in court.
The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides employment litigation representation in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or send us an e-mail.