Judgeships For Sale In New York?
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The Brooklyn New York District Attorney is investigating whether several judges paid their way to the bench (New York Daily News). The man who apparently has evidence, Clarence Norman, is the former head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and he refuses to cooperate.
A notorious Brooklyn political powerhouse and former assemblyman, Norman was recently convicted of three felony counts for soliciting and receiving illegal campaign contributions. This week, he goes on trial again on charges that he committed grand larceny in 2001, when he took a $5,000 check from his political club to his re-election committee and deposited it in a personal account.
It turns out that there is quite a connection between Norman and several of the nine Brooklyn judicial candidates who have been refused the coveted seal of approval from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
One of them is Genine Edwards, a personal injury lawyer whose mother belongs to the Crown Heights church where Norman’s father is head pastor. Another, according to media reports is Francois Rivera. Denis Hamill writes in the New York Daily News:
…We have a judge named Francois Rivera famous for being a nobody before it was suggested he paid Democratic boss Clarence Norman $50,000 for his state Supreme Court judgeship. No wonder Norman is in trouble. First, in his recent corruption trial, where he was convicted, he hired as his defense attorney one Eddie Rappaport Esq., perhaps the most unpopular judge ever to warm the Brooklyn bench.