Thursday, May 2, 2013

Manhattan DA Begins New Inquiry In Brooke Astor Estate

The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is not done with the Brooke Astor Estate criminal proceedings.  A new investigation began Thursday, April 25, 2013, according to sources, into allegations that critical information was improperly secreted from the defense.

Legal experts agree that the only outcome is for the court to formally throw out the criminal convictions of Anthony Marshall and Francis Morrisey.  

Concrete evidence had only recently been presented to the Manhattan prosecutor's office showing highly questionable activity involving an attorney, Susan Robbins, who had appeared as a witness in the criminal trial of Brooke Astor's son and former attorney.  Apparently unknown to the trial judge, the Hon. A. Kirke Bartley, Jr., the defense, the jury and, possibly, even the trial prosecutors, attorney Robbins had been previously copying emails to someone inside the Manhattan District Attorney's office for many months before the initiation of any official criminal investigation.  The DA's office contacted attorney Robbins, and has been carefully weighing its options, says a source, adding, "A lot of people are very unhappy with Susan Robbins."

The emails by Robbins, accordingly to criminal legal experts, should have been turned over to the defense prior to trial.  "The jury heard the testimony of attorney Susan Robbins where she clearly avoided telling of her full  involvement in the various Astor matters, and that she may have had her own personal agenda in the outcome of the criminal proceedings," says one insider familiar with Robbins' testimony. 

According to another expert familiar with the recent revelations, ".... 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'....."

Shockingly, the issue of the Robbins emails never came up at the six month long criminal trial, and one the respected defense attorney who questioned Susan Robbins on the stand, Thomas Puccio, died on March 12, 2012.  Puccio was a former federal prosecutor who went after corrupt congressman in the Abscam scandals in the 1980s.

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. 

Another case, from 1972, Giglio v. United States (405 U.S. 150, 153-54) expands on the Brady case saying it is a violation of due process to advance a "deliberate deception of a court and jurors by the presentation of known false evidence … whether the nondisclosure was a result of negligence or design, it is the responsibility of the prosecutor…."  The Brady and Giglio decisions concern due process protections as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and it applies to all criminal proceedings, not just those in federal courts.


  1. If I email you during a case asking if you'd like Tuna or Filet of Flounder for lunch, does this email have to be turned over to the defense because it is "fishy"? Or only email relevant to the case? The only "clowns" are the people libeling and slandering Ms. Robbins & the DA's office by making up crap that isn't true.

  2. These are attorneys at law and officers of the court how dare you say anything untoward about them - you will be punished

  3. I can tell you that the folks here in Detroit are mighty interested in what New York attorney Susan Robbins has been up to. Stay tuned. No one has libeled or slandered the DA, Robbins or Miller Canfield. Shouldn't the TRUTH matter? I say YES, THE TRUTH MATTERS!

  4. Cy Vance needs to step up to the plate and do the right thing. Prosecutorial actions MUST ALWAYS BE ON THE UP AND UP !! Just because Morganthau was reckless it doesn't mean that every DA that follows him can be. The people know better.