With holding evidence to put innocent people in jail over non-existent sex trafficking
By: Michael Vecchione -New York Post:
The Brooklyn DA’s controversial rackets chief oversaw a training session in which prosecutors were told not to make written records of early interviews with sex-trafficking victims — so the information could be withheld from defense attorneys, law-enforcement sources told The Post.
And now an attorney suing the city for $150 million over a wrongful conviction by the DA said he will depose the prosecutors who attended the training to determine if the chief lied under oath about his memory of the session.
Michael Vecchione, the rackets chief who helped lead the mandatory 2012 training session, was the assistant DA who successfully prosecuted Jabbar Collins for killing a rabbi — before the conviction was overturned amid allegations he withheld crucial evidence.
“When these girls first come in, they often deny they have been hit or pimped. We were told not to write down those statements,” a law-enforcement source said. “The clear inference by everybody in that room was that we were being told not to write down the statements so that we would not have to turn them over.”
Two other law-enforcement sources confirmed that account of the training. After the training session angered many rackets attorneys, who thought they were being told to act unethically by withholding evidence, a remedial training session was held to walk back the instructions.
Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes’ chief ADA, Amy Feinstein, told The Post that prosecutors are told to tell defense attorneys about inconsistencies in victim statements whether or not the statements are written down. And, she added, “It’s not the policy to not write things down.”
DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer said, “Nothing wrong happened at that meeting.”
At a June deposition about the training session in Brooklyn federal court for the Collins case, Vecchione answered, “Don’t recall,” multiple times when asked about the training.
Collins’ attorney Joel Rudin said he plans to depose rackets attorneys who attended the training in hopes of determining whether Vecchione told the truth and — most crucially for the $150 million suit — to show withholding evidence is an established DA policy.
“I’ve heard rackets ADAs were explicitly instructed not to turn over statements that no crime occurred,” Rudin said.