A Great Neck attorney with a history of mental problems and drug abuse was ordered jailed yesterday pending his trial for suborning perjury by a grand jury witness. Barry Balaban was ordered to the Metropolitan Correctional Center by Southern District Judge P. Kevin Castel (See Profile), who said Balaban, charged in January for urging a witness to a cocaine death to lie before a grand jury, was a danger to society. Balaban was caught on tape allegedly coaching Nicole Zobkiw about her testimony on the death of Kimberly Calo in the Upper East Side hotel room of banana importer Thomas Hoey during a 2009 orgy.
Zobkiw went on to perjure herself before the grand jury and she was convicted on Feb. 6 of perjury and obstruction of justice by a jury that heard Balaban on tape telling her to testify she was drunk on the night of the death and saw no drugs in the room (NYLJ, Feb. 7). Yesterday, Balaban pleaded not guilty to a superseding indictment charging him with subornation of perjury, influencing a witness and witness tampering.
Balaban, who is bipolar and has been hospitalized more than 50 times, has a long-running cocaine habit that costs him between $60 and $300 a day. He repeatedly interrupted his lawyer, Barry Weinstein of Goldstein & Weinstein in the Bronx, with outbursts during the arraignment. He also interrupted the judge, who threatened him with "summary contempt" if he didn’t stay quiet. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian McGinley and Margaret Garnett are prosecuting the case.