Citing “overwhelming” evidence of guilt, an appeals court in Brooklyn last week gave short shrift to ex-Brooklyn Justice Gerald P. Garson’s arguments that his bribery conviction should be overturned. In a brief unsigned opinion, a four-judge panel brushed aside Garson’s argument that the prosecution had injected into the trial crimes not charged in the indictment by insinuating he had accepted bribes “to fix cases.”
Garson’s lawyer, Jeremy Gutman, had argued that lead prosecutor Michael F. Vecchione had injected case fixing into the trial when he told the jury in his opening statement that a litigant in a divorce case before the ex-judge “never had a shot.” The indictment and bill of particulars did not accuse Garson of accepting bribes to fix cases. Instead, Garson was charged with accepting thousands of dollars of gifts from a lawyer who regularly appeared before him and who was seeking lucrative court appointments and ex parte advice in one of the lawyer’s cases then before Garson. The litigant Vecchione referred to as not having a shot was the subject of the ex parte advice.
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