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Judge Quits Case After Alleged Threat

March 19, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A judge removed himself from a case involving real estate developer Abe Hirschfeld _ in prison for trying to have a business partner killed _ because the judge was told Hirschfeld had tried to have him killed, too.

State Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman said Monday that he was told about Hirschfeld’s alleged plot three weeks ago.

The judge said Hirschfeld, 82, was heard trying to hire an assassin at the Sullivan Correctional Facility, where he is serving one to three years for trying to have his late business partner, Stanley Stahl, killed. Stahl died of natural causes.

``They said he was trying to find someone to remove the judge from his case,″ Gammerman said, referring to law enforcement officials who told him of the alleged plot.

Hirschfeld enjoys the presumption of innocence until the accusations are proven, his lawyer said Monday.

Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, said the allegation was under investigation.

The case stems from a lawsuit against Hirschfeld by Stahl’s estate and by Hirschfeld’s daughter, Rachel Hirschfeld. The plaintiffs accuse the developer of not giving them their shares of business revenues.

Hirschfeld, a frequent political candidate and former owner of the New York Post, entered prison in August 2000. He was denied parole last summer.

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