“If Hynes has any interest in protecting the integrity of our criminal justice system, he would fire ADA Vecchione immediately. As Brooklyn D.A., I will fight to ensure that innocent New Yorkers are not locked up for crimes they didn’t commit, and that prosecutors are held accountable – not promoted – when they violate the public trust.”
Former federal prosecutor and candidate for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson recently threw down this gauntlet as yet another of Assistant District Attorney Michael Vecchione’s cases came under scrutiny for allegations of unethical conduct.
ADA Vecchione recently testified in a deposition for the Jabbar Collins lawsuit that “potentially criminal conduct occurred in the D.A’s office, including the repeated unlawful forging of his signature in affidavits.”
In deciding whether Jabbar Collins’ lawsuit should go ahead, Eastern District Judge Frederick Block said at a hearing last November that he was disturbed that DA Hynes continued to defend Vecchione in light of the misconduct he engaged in during the Collins case. Since then, a new controversy involving Vecchione has surfaced. In a complicated turn of events, a man who Vecchione and Hynes have been prosecuting for making false allegations of child sex abuse against a well-known leader in the Hassidic Jewish community has been vindicated by evidence that the Jewish man’s supporters paid off a state witness to provide the so-called evidence that forms the basis of the prosecution. The Failed Messiah explains:D.A. Hynes has been attempting to prosecute Sam Kellner, a father who accused a prominent Hasidic cantor, Baruch Lebovits, of sexually abusing his son and other children in the orthodox community. After Lebovits’ conviction, Hynes then prosecuted Kellner after allegations emerged from a victim who testified against Lebovits that the witness had testified only because Kellner paid him $10,000. Lebovits’s lawyers used the Kellner prosecution to have his conviction overturned. Now Hynes’ case against Kellner, overseen by ADA Vecchione, has fallen apart as a result of evidence that the witness who had made the accusations against Kellner had accepted payments from Lebovits’s supporters. According to reports, “that money went to paying for his lawyer; his travel to and from Israel, where he is a student; his apartment; and his school fees.”
Apparently, Mr. Lebovitz’s attorney Arthur Aidala is also a campaign contributor to Mr. Hynes and the vice president of his nonprofit foundation and “has boasted to prosecutors about his access to and influence with Mr. Hynes and Mr. Vecchione.”
DA Hynes is still due to be deposed in the Collins case next month.