Originally published at 11:26 pm CST 11-4-2013
According to an inaccurate article in the Jewish Daily Forward, Brooklyn district attorney candidate Ken Thompson has “backpedal[ed]” on the “hasidic [child sexual] abuse scandal."
Thompson, writes the Forward's Paul Berger – the same reporter who ambushed a senile, confused Rabbi Norman Lamm last December and who has a history past that of questionable, dishonest reporting – “has sharply criticized incumbent Charles Hynes’ prosecution of a prominent Hasidic advocate against sexual abuse, even attending a rally calling for charges against the man to be dropped.”
But now, the Forward claims, Thompson has an “open mind” toward the guilt or innocence of that activist, Samuel Kellner.
The actual reporting on Thompson’s supposed original position on the Kellner case came from the Jewish Week’s Hella Winston, not from the Forward (which doesn’t seem to have reported anything about Thompson's position on the case until now).
Here is what Winston actually reported:
“You have a situation where Mr. Kellner worked hand in hand with the DA to get the indictment of Mr. Lebovits and then the DA turns around and indicts Mr. Kellner,” Thompson told The Jewish Week at the rally.
“What the DA has to explain in the Kellner case is how is it possible that two different units in his office, the Sex Crimes unit, which brought the case against Mr. Lebovits, and the Rackets Division, which brought the case against Mr. Kellner, brought two cases that are diametrically opposed. It does not make sense. And both of those cases are still pending. How is that possible?
“A prosecutor has an obligation to do justice, and part of doing justice is making sure you investigate allegations brought against a citizen,” Thompson continued.
“What investigation was conducted about the allegations brought against Mr. Kellner before he was indicted? Did Mike Vecchione [the chief of the Rackets Division] sit down with the sex crimes prosecutors and say, ‘We are about to indict Mr. Kellner?’ We need to know all of this. A judge should have been brought into this case to find out what [was] going on. [This case] just shows how dysfunctional the leadership is in the Brooklyn DA’s office.”
In other words, Thompson’s position is that the D.A.’s office clearly mishandled one or both of those two cases, and the handling of both cases should be investigated to see what, if anything, was done incorrectly.
Thompson did not criticize Hynes for prosecuting Kellner – Thompson criticized Hynes for pursuing contradictory cases. Thompson said nothing about Kellner's guilt or innocence. Instead, he spoke about what he called Hynes' "dysfunctional" office.
And that is why Thompson refused to comment on Kellner's case or Kellner's guilt or innocence when the Forward's Paul Berger interviewed him on October 30.
The Forward also makes it appear as if Thompson spoke a pro-Kellner rally in July, which is false. Thompson stood on the sidelines, did not speak and was much more an observer than anything else.
The Forward also falsely claims that Thompson misrepresented Lebovits' how case was overturned. Thompson’s campaign website, the Forward wrote, “goes on to claim, erroneously, that ‘Lebovits’s lawyers used the Kellner prosecution to have his conviction overturned.’”
In fact, Alan Dershowitz's court filings on behalf of Lebovits did use the Kellner indictment to get Lebovits released to house arrest, and he even filed a 440 motion to vacate the judgement against based on it.
Has Ken Thompson "backpeddled" on the Lebovits case as the Forward claims?
The Forward has not provided any evidence that he has – and therefore its headline and the entire thrust of its story are false and misleading.