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In SDNY James Grant Sues City and Bratton As Reichberg Gets 4 Years For NYPD Bribes

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 13 – The day that Bill De Blasio donor Jeremy Reichberg was sentenced to 48 months in prison for bribes to NYPD officials, the former Commanding Officer of the 19th Precinct James Grant filed a civil suit against the City in the same U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The complaint recounts how Grant was found not guilty but was still "wrongfully forced out." It compares his treatment to that of Philip Banks and Michael Endall of the Licensing Division.

  Paragraph 37 of the complaint cites the FBI investigation of Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz "who had ties to Mayor Bill De Blasio and the Corrections Officers Union President Norman Seabrook." The case is 19-cv-4334 and Inner City Press will be following it. 

  Reichberg had been scheduled to be sentenced for bribery on April 4, but it was pushed back to May 13. After nearly three hours of argument, Reichberg was sentenced for 48 months in prison, to begin on August 12, and a $50,000 fine. As is his way, SDNY Judge Gregory Woods dug deal into the pres-sentencing report, which in this case involved a video with high production values, unlike the single angle video that recently preceded the immediate remand of narcotics defendant Jesus Lopez by SDNY Judge Valerie Caproni.

   These type of comparisons were rife at Reichberg's May 13 sentencing. His lawyer Susan R. Necheles pointedly noted that Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin S. Bell had argued for only one year in prison for Murray Huberfeld for bribing the boldest of NYC's Boldest, Norman Seabrook.

   Bell wrote that off to a decision on a plea agreement and noted that SDNY Judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced Huberfeld to 30 months. This, Inner City Press readers will remember, is all that Patrick Ho got for bribery at the United Nations. But Bell made the NYPD out to be the greatest police force (albeit only that the people of this city know). Ms. Necheles objected to Bell recounting what unnamed police officers said about the importance for their credibility of rooting out bad apples. The gallery was full; one attendee blurted out, "Where the public officials?" Where indeed. We'll have more on this.

  ThIn April, one dispute involved whether the full $60,000 cost of a private jet to Las Vegas should be counted, since Jona Rechnitz claimed he owned the plane. Assistant US Attorney Bell said it should, that mere first class air fare to McCarran in Vegas wasn't the same. Judge Woods, so often with the underdog, seemed torn: is this defendants really an underdog? The proceeding was moved from Woods' usually empty courtroom 12C up to the larger 23A and it was almost full. Reichberg's lawyer will be out of the country from April 16 to nearly the end of the month. But the sentencing will happen - and Inner City Press will be there, watch this site.Inne on tnearlpm 

Also on April 4, as if in the parallel universe, a long time petty criminal was brought shackled into the SDNY, after serving three years in state penitentiary for stealing appliances from a department store. This was deemed a violation of supervised release, and the Assistant US Attorney argued for no bail. But Stanley Bamber was born in Newark and still has family in New Jersey. He could live with his brother, his assigned lawyer argued, pending arguments before SDNY Judge Alison Nathan, occupied the same day with Elon Musk. It was finally agreed that if Probation approves and radio frequency electronic monitoring is in place, the 60 year old Bambury may see the light of day. Between 1976 and 2000, the prosecutor said, Bamber was charged with crimes 35 times. His was the last case of the day; in the elevator Inner City Press asked the AUSA about his record and got a Have a good night. Okay then - just another day in the SDNY. Johnny Morgan is suing the United States for a rectal search he endured in the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 150 Park Row, right next to the SDNY. On April 4 before SDNY Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman, the government presented an expert Roy Lubit who said that Morgan is a "malingerer" and blamed his pain on abuse suffered earlier at the hand of his own mother. But even government expert Lubit said that the rectal entry should not have happened. It is, in fact, an outrage. Inner City Press was the only media in the smallish courtroom, compared to dozens of reporters two hours later for Elon Musk. While some might question taxpayer money going to pay damages for what happened to Mr. Morgan, what about public money for an expert witness to insult the torturee? We'll have more on this. 


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