Jewish Week Prosecutors in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office were set to dismiss the case against chasidic abuse whistleblower Sam Kellner this week for lack of evidence, but were overruled by their supervisor and then reassigned, The Jewish Week has learned.
Last Wednesday, one day after Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes suffered a crushing defeat by Ken Thompson in his bid for re-election, Assistant District Attorney Joe Alexis informed Kellner’s lawyers, Michael Dowd and Niall MacGiollabhui, by phone that the case against their client would be dismissed at the next scheduled court date, Nov. 12.
On Friday, however, MacGiollabhui told The Jewish Week that he received a call from Alexis, bureau chief of the Rackets Division and a 22-year veteran of the office, informing him that he and the other trial prosecutor, Nicholas Batsidis (who had indicted the case), had been overruled and then transferred out of the Rackets Division by its chief, Michael Vecchione.
Vecchione, one of Hynes’ top aides, has been under scrutiny for alleged misconduct during his tenure as a prosecutor; his alleged actions form the basis of a $150 million lawsuit against the city by a wrongfully convicted man named Jabbar Collins. During the campaign, Thompson called on Hynes to fire Vecchione and in September, after Thompson’s primary victory, the Daily News reported that he intended to fire Vecchione when he takes office.
“We had been dealing with two very professional, career prosecutors,” Dowd told The Jewish Week on Sunday. “And then to find out that they are being punished for their exercise of judgment and conscience, it makes you sick. How can you have faith in the system when the system is obviously being corrupted by Michael Vecchione?”[...]