It turns out that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's long-term persistence in addressing the rampant corruption in New York State might have had the collateral result of keeping Brooke Astor's 89-year-old son out of prison.
Brooke Astor's son and his attorney were convicted of various criminal charges, and are currently free pending a 'Hail-Mary' filing with New York's highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany. Unbeknownst to those watching the Astor criminal trial proceedings in Manhattan, federal agents have been reviewing many decades-long tax evasion issues- all prompted, according to a source, by the $100 Million-plus believed to be owed to taxing authorities by those who wrestled control of estates, trusts and non-profits related to Ice Cream magnate Tom Carvel. (CLICK HERE to see, "IRS Looking at Surrogate, Lawyer and Bank Chairman Link," - "Are tax-fee loans the new brown-bag payoffs that corrupt our courts?"
The defendants, Anthony Marshall and Francis Morrisey, were last in court on Friday, April 19, 2013, and could have been hauled off that day to begin serving their 1-3 year prison sentences. The New York State Supreme Court Judge, the Hon. A. Kirke Bartley, Jr., however, allowed the defendants to remain free pending the outcome of the latest appellate filing.
Not knowing what Judge Bartley would decide on April 19th, the New York State Corrections Department waited with a stretcher to cart Brooke Astor's ailing son off to begin his sentence. Meanwhile, that same morning, a New York attorney named Susan Robbins was enjoying her breakfast, apparently unaware that her actions- and/or inactions- involving the Astor estate criminal proceedings had been revealed on Monday, April 15, 2013.
It was revealed that attorney Robbins had been sending many emails over an extended period of time, and those emails should have been turned over to the defense during the criminal trial. According to one expert familiar with the recent findings, ".... there can be no claim of attorney-client privilege since Ms. Robbins was copying those emails to various people including the District Attorney's office.... those emails should have been turned over to the defense- this is a clear 'Brady Violation'....."
The issue of "Brady" material became famous by the 1963 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland (373 U.S. 83) saying that prosecutors cannot withhold exculpatory evidence that is material to the defendant's guilt, or material as to any subsequent punishment. Exculpatory evidence is "material" as it involves the possibility of a different outcome had that previously-unknown evidence been known.
"It can be clearly argued that the jury should have had the chance to see attorney Robbins' emails, and then weigh that against her testimony at the criminal trial," says another legal insider, adding, "Ms. Robbins has some explaining to do. As an officer of the court, Robbins had an obligation to reveal those emails. Her real motives may have been hidden, she may have very unclean hands here..."
It is unknown whether the actual trial prosecutors knew of the 'Robbins emails' as questions continue as to attorney Robbins' activity and interaction with others inside the Manhattan District Attorney's office, and those involved in the Westchester County Surrogate's Court proceedings. One insider, who asked not to be identified, doubts that the trial prosecutors knew of the Robbins emails, saying "those are upstanding ADA's- they would have done the right thing and turned that material over to the defense..."
The defense could have moved for a mistrial before the jury verdict, but must now seek vacatur of the conviction via a "440 motion." New York State law, under Criminal Procedure Law Section 440 allows the judge to vacate the conviction and, additionally, to dismiss all accusatory instruments.
MORE COMING SOON............... Why did probating Brooke Astor's will take so long? Why hasn't a full accounting ever been released? Yes, the IRS wants those answers too ! - CHECK BACK SOON FOR MORE ON THIS STORY.......