Yesterday, 1,000 days after two men were shot to death in Newburgh, New York, the case against Rabbi Victor (Naftali) Koltun, the man who allegedly ordered their deaths, moved incrementally closer to trial.
Haredi Rabbi Charged With Murder Alleges Antisemitic Conspiracy Against Him
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Yesterday, 1,000 days after two men were shot to death in Newburgh, New York, the case against Rabbi Victor (Naftali) Koltun, the man who allegedly ordered their deaths, moved incrementally closer to trial, the Times Herald-Record reported.
The 43-year-old Koltun, who got his smicha from Rabbi Yaakov Spivak's Monsey yeshiva, is charged with first degree murder along with other felony charges for the murders of Gerald and Frank Piscopo.
Two men, one who acted as the gunman and the other as the lookout, have already pleaded guilty and are serving prison terms.
But Koltun's case has stalled – largely because of Kolton’s claims of mental incompetency, his physical health issues, and through his use of delaying tactics, including firing his attorneys twice.
Now Koltun wants to represent himself.
But Koltun also filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he is the victim of a vast antisemitic conspiracy. The suit names police, District Attorney Frank Phillips, local Newburgh Judge B. Harold Ramsey – and his trial judge, Jeffrey Berry – as defendants.
Berry has yet to rule on Koltun’s request to represent himself. He also must decide if he will continue to judge Koltun’s case or if he will recuse himself because of Koltun’s lawsuit.
Speaking from the bench, Judge Berry reportedly said that the U.S. magistrate judge who reviewed Koltun’s suit (and his request that the federal court serve the judges) is going to recommend that Koltun's suit be dismissed.
Later today, Koltun will be sentenced in Brooklyn to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison on a grand larceny conviction.
Koltun is due back in court in Orange County on August 28.
Barring any more delays or Berry’s recusal, Koltun’s trial will reportedly begin sometime in mid-October.