APRIL 20, 2007
In the latest conviction involving widespread corruption in one New York district’s judiciary, a former state Supreme Court justice has been found guilty of accepting bribes from a shady attorney to fix cases in his favor.
Six people connected to the veteran Brooklyn judge, Gerald Garson, have already been convicted or pleaded guilty to crimes connected with his rampant corruption. They include a law clerk and a court officer.
Judge Garson now faces up to 15 years in prison for accepting bribes from a lawyer who repeatedly showered him with cash, meals and fancy cigars to manipulate the outcome of cases to favor his clients.
In five years on the bench in Brooklyn, the judge handled about 1,100 cases involving divorces, child custody and financial matters.
Kings County prosecutors have investigated the judge for years and secretly installed cameras in his chambers to catch him conducting illegal meetings with attorneys and accepting envelopes stashed with cash as well as other gifts. One county investigator’s 2002 affidavit lists some of the bribing incidents and other damaging information gathered during surveillance.
Shortly after, Judge Garson was suspended by the New York State Court System’s administrative judge, who called his actions disturbing to all judges. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman stressed that Garson’s colleagues on the bench were outraged because he violated precious public trust.
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