Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Is this comparable to the the Kaminetsky-Greenblatt heter? Former Judge Is Convicted of Bribery in Divorce Court

A former State Supreme Court judge was convicted yesterday of accepting bribes to manipulate the outcome of divorce proceedings in a case that led to a broad political and judicial corruption inquiry in Brooklyn.

The judge, Gerald P. Garson, 74, could face as many as 15 years in prison if he is sentenced consecutively on the three guilty verdicts, on bribery and two lesser charges. The jury acquitted him on four other counts after a four-week trial in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

In his roughly five years on the bench in Brooklyn, Mr. Garson handled nearly 1,100 matrimony cases, making decisions on child custody and financial matters. In finding him guilty, the jury endorsed the prosecution theory that he had an agreement with a divorce lawyer to take cash, dinners and cigars in exchange for courtroom assignments and favored treatment. [...]

Mr. Garson was first charged in 2003, along with the divorce lawyer, Paul Siminovsky, as well as one of his clients, a court officer, a former clerk and a man described as a fixer. All six were charged with felonies.

The case immediately reverberated throughout Brooklyn, from playpens and dinner tables to the upper echelons of politics. Divorce cases were reopened. Judges feared that their offices were wired for surveillance. The system of nominating judges was ruled unconstitutional.[...]

“Finally, we have justice,” said Frieda Hanimov, whose divorce case was handled by Mr. Garson and who wore a surveillance device to collect evidence against him. Adding that she and other victims were planning civil lawsuits, she said, “Now hopefully they’re going to learn and realize we have corruption everywhere.”

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