The former head of the city correction officers’ union doesn’t deserve a new trial because of fraud allegations against prosecutors’ star witness — because the jury knew he had been a liar his entire life, prosecutors said in court papers Monday night.
The jury that convicted former union head Norman Seabrook was well aware that corrupt Mayor Bill de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz had lined the pockets of police officers, union reps and attempted to bribe politicians to gain favors and profit, prosecutors wrote.
“It is difficult to imagine a trial in which more ample ammunition already existed to attack a witness’s credibility,” prosecutors wrote in response to Seabrook’s request for a new trial.
Seabrook requested a new trial last month, arguing Rechnitz lied on the stand and has since been accused in three civil suits of defrauding jewelry dealers in California.
The three suits in California “set forth allegations of stunning breadth, reflecting [his] continuing course of fraudulent conduct, as well as boasts that he was untouchable because the Government was dependent on his continuing assistance,” Seabrook argued.
The allegations shouldn’t concern Seabrook’s case because of what Rechnitz admitted during his trial, prosecutors added.
“Rechnitz testified at considerable length concerning not only his bribery of Seabrook, but everything from his bribery of executive-level police officers, his attempts to bribe the eventual Mayor of New York and the Westchester County Executive, his lies on a firearms permit submitted to the NYPD and in an array of business transactions, and a host of other misdeeds,” they wrote.
“The jury was well aware that Rechnitz had lied throughout his life in his private life and his business life,” they added.
Seabrook was found guilty in 2018 of taking a $60,000 bribe from Rechnitz to invest nearly $20 million of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association with a since-defunct hedge fund.
He was sentenced to 58 months in prison but remains free pending appeal.