• CorruptionByCops.com

NYPD cop James Grant should never have been charged: jurors



Two jurors who helped acquit ex-NYPD cop James Grant on bribery charges said Wednesday that he never should have been charged — and one said that other high-ranking police officials should have been sitting in the dock instead.

Ives Bonilla, who served as Juror No. 11 in the Manhattan federal case, said ex-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks was among those he thought more deserving of prosecution than Grant.

Bonilla — who blurted out “Bravo” following closing arguments by Grant’s lawyer — also said he saw ample evidence of alleged corruption against Floral Park (Long Island) Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister, a former NYPD inspector, and former NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington.

“Harrington, Banks, McAllister — they all should have been here,” said Bonilla, 67, of the Bronx.

Both Banks and McAllister were named by the feds as unindicted co-conspirators in Grant’s case, while Harrington was charged as a co-defendant but struck a no-jail plea bargain earlier this year.

The jury was never informed about Harrington’s admission of guilt.

Another juror, No. 7, said she was surprised that Grant got indicted, based on the evidence prosecutors presented against the former deputy inspector.

“It looked like they were rushing the case,” said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

No. 7 also said she discounted testimony from ex-hooker Gabi Grecko, who was hired to join Grant and others on a 2013 trip to Las Vegas on a private plane — and who the juror said seemed to have been “drugged up” on the witness stand.

“It looked like she was on something,” the woman said.

Bonilla said he decided to hail the summation delivered by Grant’s defense lawyer, John Meringolo, because “it felt like an opera.”

“He moved me. He’s Italian,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla said 10 of the 12 jurors were ready to acquit Grant on the first day of deliberations.

By the next day, Bonilla said, the entire panel was convinced Grant had been duped by co-defendant Jeremy Reichberg — who was convicted on four of five counts — and Reichberg’s former pal Jona Rechnitz, who pleaded guilty in a cooperation deal with the feds.

“He was just a flunky, I think. He was just a pawn,” Bonilla said of Grant.

“Like Meringolo said, he was just a kid from Brooklyn, from the streets of New York. He was razzle-dazzled.”

There was also unanimity early on that Reichberg was guilty of at least some crimes, Bonilla said.

“Everyone seemed convinced that him and Rechnitz were the wheeler-dealers,” he said.

Juror No. 7 said that Rechnitz, who spent nine days on the witness stand, convinced her Reichberg wanted to corrupt Grant and other members of the NYPD.

“Their relationship was based on how far they could get in politics,” she said of the two former fundraisers for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Banks’ defense lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said Bonilla “is obviously mistaken.”

“The reason Banks was never charged with any crime is because he never did anything for anyone that was in any way improper,” Brafman said.

Lawyers for McAllister and Harrington didn’t return requests for comment.



Source link