Prosecutors

For the second time this year, judge dismisses charges against defense attorney

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For the second time this year, a judge has dismissed charges against New York lawyer George Galgano.

According to a Monday story in the Journal News, Westchester County Court Judge David Zuckerman dismissed an indictment filed by the Putnam County District Attorney against Galgano, a criminal defense attorney. Galgano had been accused of bribing a victim in a sexual assault case so that she wouldn’t testify against his client. Zuckerman, however, found that there was a lack of evidence to support an indictment against Galgano.

“The hallmark of a conspiracy is an agreement to engage in criminal conduct,” Zuckerman wrote in his opinion. “The grand jury presentation does not show any such agreement by defendant Galgano. Rather, there is considerable evidence that he was concerned and upset upon learning that certain taped conversations appeared to erroneously suggest that the accomplice had offered money to the sexual assault victim not to appear in the grand jury.”

Zuckerman’s decision caps a contentious year between Galgano and Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy. In January, Zuckerman dismissed the same charges against Galgano after finding defects with the grand jury proceeding. The Putnam County District Attorney then refiled the indictment; and Galgano later filed a suit alleging that a witness was allowed to engage in sexual relations inside the DA’s office in exchange for cooperating against him, the Journal News reported earlier this month.

Bennett Gershman, a professor at Pace Law School in White Plains, told The Journal News that “it’s very uncommon” for a judge to dismiss an indictment against an individual again after giving the prosecution a chance to file correctly. “It really is a black mark on his tenure to see something like this in a high-profile case,” Gershman said.

Galgano’s attorney went even further. “That is a dangerous office, and that office has no right to have access to and control over any grand jury,” said Robert Altchiler, who defended Galgano. Levy’s office did not respond to a request for comment from the Journal Times.

The Journal Times previously reported that Levy is under investigation by the FBI. Levy, who is facing re-election in November, has denied this on his campaign website.

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