1/25/14

Baruch Lebovits Retrial Begins

Homicide bureau chief Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, the prosecutor who convicted the killers of NYPD cop Russel Timoshenko, will join the Brooklyn D.A.'s team in the re-trial of once-convicted child sex abuser Baruch Lebovits.

Convicted in 2010, Lebovits has yet to be sentenced. In 2011, former Brooklyn D.A. Charlie Hynes prosecuted Sam Kellner, the father of one of Lebovits' alleged victims, for extortion and witness-tampering. Based on Hynes' prosecution of Kellner, Lebovits was able to overturn his 2010 conviction on appeal in 2012 and get a new trial.

The file in the Kellner case is now under review by Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson's top sex abuse prosecutor.

The "botched" Kellner prosecution became a campaign issue for Thompson, who stopped a jail-free plea deal for Lebovits just as former D.A. Charlie Hynes was about to leave office last fall.

Lebovits' supporters claim that, by stopping the Lebovits plea deal and assigning Nicolazzi to his re-trial, Thompson is keeping a campaign promise to Kellner supporters. While that may be true, it seems more likely that Nicolazzi's assignment relates to the presence of the relentlessly adversarial Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who represents Lebovits. 

Dershowits and co-counsel Arthur Aidala succeeded in creating a parallel defense narrative involving an alleged plot between Kellner and NYPD detective Steve Litwin, the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation that grew out of the Lebovits case.  The defense team, with an assist from now-departed bureau chief Michael Vecchione, got a lot of mileage out of that narrative.

The next hearing date in the Lebovits case is Feb. 18.

The article from the Daily News.

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