Keystone Kops vs. Larry Seabrook


Dirty pols walk?
By MICHAEL BENJAMIN – NYPOST.com
Last Updated: 3:40 AM, December 2, 2011
Posted: 11:10 PM, December 1, 2011

Us Attorney Preet Bharara’s case against City Councilman Larry Seabrook has become a Keystone Kops prosecution, complete with key witnesses recanting previous statements, an ex-mistress claiming dementia, a flirty female witness and other government witnesses out of central miscasting. The trial would be amusing if not for the seriousness of the charges and waste of public dollars.

But I couldn’t laugh even bitterly once I recognized the name of the attorney — William T. Martin, Esq. — representing Gloria Jones-Grant, the government witness now claiming dementia.

As a judicial delegate back in 1987, I helped make William T. Martin the youngest black man elected to the Bronx Supreme Court. I believe then-Assemblyman Seabrook made a nominating speech on behalf of his friend. Then, in 1989, Justice William T. Martin (the first president of the Bronx County Black Bar Association) was indicted on federal charges of tax evasion, perjury and cocaine trafficking. In a later deal, he pleaded guilty to several tax charges and a misdemeanor cocaine-possession charge, and the government dropped the other counts.

Martin has since rehabilitated himself, and resumed practicing law in 2001. Like Sol Wachtler, the disgraced former chief justice of the State Court of Appeals, he has become a champion of prisoner re-entry programs. Last month, he spoke at a John Jay College conference about reducing imprisonment and crime.

Bharara promised to make pursuit of political corruption a top priority. Thus far, his office has already lost one high-profile political corruption case against Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., because Bharara’s team didn’t present smoking-gun evidence. Now, his team’s been bushwhacked when two key prosecution witnesses in this case recanted their grand-jury testimony of a kickback scheme allegedly orchestrated by Seabrook.

This unending narrative of corruption comes sickeningly full circle when the attorney for a key prosecution witness was once himself a subject of prosecution. Martin, a disgraced former state judge is now representing Jones-Grant, whose claim of dementia undermines a potentially successful prosecution against his former political godfather. And the witness admits under oath that she had regular contact with the defendant as recently as days prior to the start of the trial.

I don’t have inside knowledge here — but like you, I’m left to wonder: Coincidence or sinister connection? Like the public, I ask, “Can’t anybody shoot straight?” It’s no wonder our people are mad.

I am angry because the institutions New Yorkers rely upon — politicians, government agencies, nonprofits — have broken faith with us. We want justice.

We must rid our city and state of the politicians, poverty pimps and misery vampires who setup nonprofit agencies only to loot them for their personal gain. The people in charge of prosecuting these grifters must do a better job of ensuring justice and fair trials that are not upended by a failure to safeguard witnesses.

US Attorney Bharara, New Yorkers need you to be on top of your game.

Read more:

Do ‘Dirty Pols’ Walk? Is political corruption a laughing matter? Leave your comment below.

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
This entry was posted in African Americans, Crime, Government, Politics, Public Corruption and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Keystone Kops vs. Larry Seabrook

  1. Garver Osorio says:

    Wow. William T. Martin didn’t have his law license suspended but a people’s champion like Alton H. Maddox Jr. has had his law license suspended indefinitely since 1990. That’s 21 years!

    Your absolutely right Mr. Benjamin. In the immortal words of Malcolm X. We’ve been hoodwinked, we’ve been bamboozled.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s