The defendants in a high-profile NYPD bribery trial were grinning from ear to ear on Friday after a wayward juror called out “Bravo!” from his seat in the jury box following a request for an acquittal.
“Bravo, bravo, bravo!” a visibly moved juror said after criminal-defense lawyer John Meringolo finished his closing remarks in the seven-week Manhattan federal-court trial.
Meringolo, who represents ex-NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, had just spent the last hour blasting the government’s case when the juror made the unusual outburst.
Meringolo argued that Grant did favors for his co-defendant, Mayor de Blasio donor Jeremy Reichberg, only because the two men were longtime friends.
He also said Grant rose through the ranks due to skill and hard work — not bribery.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re from here. We know bad cops. That’s not a bad cop!” Meringolo exclaimed while pointing to Grant.
“There’s no corruption. There’s no corruption whatsoever,” he told the jury.
In another dramatic moment, Meringolo brought up Grant’s service during 9/11, which brought tears to Grant’s eyes and an objection from the government. The judge sustained the objection but it was too late — at least for juror number 12, who made his feelings known shortly after this exchange.
Prosecutor Martin Bell then took the podium and tried to grab back the jury’s attention by singing them the theme song to the “Golden Girls” TV show, including the chorus, “Thank you for being a friend.”
He did this, he said, in an effort to cast doubt on Reichberg’s and Grant’s friendship defense.
“This wasn’t a ‘Golden Girls’ friendship. This was bribery, plain and simple,” Bell said.
The judge then handed the case to jury members, who immediately asked to go home. They will begin deliberations Wednesday.
The government claims that Reichberg and fellow de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz showered lavish gifts on Grant and other cops, including a private jet ride with a hooker on board, in exchange for police favors, including help with arrests and difficult-to-obtain gun licenses.
Rechnitz has pleaded guilty and testified against Grant and Reichberg during the trial.