Charge Judge Offered Bribe Guarantee
NEW YORK (AP) _ Federal prosecutors charged Monday that a state trial court judge accused of accepting bribes offered a money-back guarantee to the people who allegedly paid him to fix criminal cases.
Supreme Court Justice William C. Brennan ″was careful never to promise a specific outcome, but rather that he would do what he could do. Defendants were even told their money would be returned if results were unsatisfactory,″ prosecutors said in a memorandum given to U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein just before jury selection began at Brennan’s trial.
Later Monday, a jury of 12 people and six alternates was selected for the Queens judge’s trial on racketeering, conspiracy and extortion charges.
Brennan, 67, was named in a 26-count federal indictment in July that accused him of taking or soliciting at least $47,000 in bribes to fix four criminal cases in the borough of Queens between 1973 and this year.
Prosecutors introduced the memorandum in support of their plans to present testimony that Brennan took three additional bribes not listed in the indictment.
Last week Weinstein agreed to allow the testimony by an admitted middleman who has implicated Brennan in an aborted bribe scheme. Weinstein, however, told prosecutors he wanted legal papers explaining why the issue should be raised.
″It will be the testimony of Anthony Bruno - Justice Brennan’s intermediary or ‘bagman’ in the corruption of all seven cases now alleged by the government - that between 1972 and 1974 the judge agreed to and did receive bribes in exchange for his influence in the three new cases, Joseph Pastore, John Donnelly and Dominick Cataldo,″ the 14-page government memorandum stated.
Bruno, 63, of Hallandale, Fla., pleaded guilty to promoting bribery in a secret court session last May.
A restaurateur once described by Brennan as an old friend, Bruno admitted taking $25,000 earmarked for Brennan to fix a drug case from a government informant in Florida last February.
Bruno said he returned the money to the informant after discussing the matter with Brennan.
Brennan, a veteran of 18 years on the bench, was suspended without pay from his $82,000-a-year post after his indictment.
He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted of racketeering.