• CorruptionByCops.com

Crooked donor’s trial was another win for public corruption



Will we ever see another public official convicted for a clear-cut case of bribery and corruption? The odds against it keep getting longer.

The latest shock came Wednesday, when a Manhattan federal court jury acquitted former NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant on charges he took bribes in return for special police favors for businessman Jeremy Reichberg.

The same jury convicted Reichberg, a major donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, of paying bribes to other police officials — but not to Grant.

Post-trial interviews suggest that jurors accepted the same argument used successfully by other indicted officials, including New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez: This was just two old friends helping each other out — and what are friends for?

You can understand why prosecutors were confident: They had emails, wiretaps and testimony from key figures in what they charged was an elaborate bribery scheme.

They even had the testimony of a confessed prostitute who said she was paid to have sex with Grant during an all-expense-paid private jet flight to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend 2013.

But the jury refused to believe her. Just as it didn’t buy the testimony of fellow businessman and de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz, at least where Grant was concerned.

But it did believe that Reichberg bribed other top police officials who’d cut plea deals with prosecutors. That leaves a continuing stain on the NYPD — and on the mayor, who was shown during the trial to have been a lot closer to both Rechnitz and Reichberg than he’d initially claimed.

Then again, de Blasio himself escaped prosecution for his pay-to-play abuses thanks to the extremely high bar the US Supreme Court has set for convicting officials of corruption — a standard that also looks to have aided Grant’s defense.

Congress needs to close the ridiculous “friends helping friends” loophole so that prosecutors don’t have to surmount impossibly high legal hurdles to hold crooked public officials accountable.

Otherwise, you’ll never see an end to New York’s culture of corruption. Indeed, seamy insider dealing is all too likely to become business as usual all across the nation.



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