Solomon Dwek grilled on the Ten Commandments in Beldini corruption trial
By Michaelangelo Conte • The Jersey Journal / The Associated Press
As cross-examination of the government's key witness, Solomon Dwek, began this morning in the corruption trial of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy's campaign treasurer, the defense has been grilling Dwek on his failure to abide by civil law and the Ten Commandments.
"Up until I started my cooperation (with the FBI) I would operate -- I would lie, I would steal, I would cheat," Dwek said as defense attorney Brian Neary worked to tear down Dwek's credibility. "I would do whatever i thought was necessary to further my real estate business."
Dwek was quick to say he had changed his ways, adding, "Once I decided to cooperate, and I signed a cooperating agreement, I did not lie, cheat, steal. I obeyed."
Neary forced Dwek to admit that his criminal activity -- which included swindling friends, family and members of his Jewish community of Deal -- had dishonored his father, a rabbi. Dwek also admitted to owning a gambling boat in Florida that was apparently used for prostitution and suggested he helped others covet their neighbors' wives in so doing.
Neary harped on the symbolism of the yarmulke Dwek wore and even suggested that his father had already sat shiva for Dwek, having decided he was dead to him.
Nearry then began running through the schedule of meetings between Dwek, defendant Leona Beldini, former Jersey City housing official/school board member Edward Cheatam, the late political Jack Shaw and Healy in Jersey City and Staten Island and tallying up the payments Dwek gave Cheatam -- who has pleaded guilty -- and Shaw -- who died days after his July arrest.
Neary was careful to note that at one meeting Cheatam told Dwek that Beldini does not take cash. Dwek says on the tape that he could instead give a check.
Asked if he ever represnted himself as a rabbi, Dwek said, "No.''
Neary noted that Beldini said "Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal'' on the tapes. Dwek acknowledged she had said it, said she was referring to Healy and admitted that it is not the way he has operated in his life until the plea deal.
Since 2006, Dwek has had the opportunity to testify under oath on number of occasions, usually connected to his bankruptcy proceedings.
Neary then asked about the people and banks Dwek stole millions of dollars from.
The banks represent people trying to save their hard-earned money, Neary said.
He also noted that starting when he was in bankruptcy, Dwek received $12,800 a month and now gets $10,000 a month, which he, his wife and their five children live on.
"That is from the money you have stolen?'' Neary asked.
"So you still enjoy the ill-gotten gains on a monthly basis, yes?''
"I notice you wear a religious cap. What does that symbolize?''
"The way I was brought up was in a religious orthodox home. It’s the way my parents brought me up. It’s one of the 613 commandments of the bible."
Neary later asked Dwek if he continued to lie once he became a cooperating witness for the federal government.
"Was your word always gold to them?'' he asked of FBI agents.
"... I never lied to them.''
[Hat Tip: CS.]