A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the bribery and corruption trial of New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and former Queens Republican leader Vincent Tabone, in part over 300 Yiddish-language phone calls and text messages to and from Satmar hasidic scammer Moses "Mark" Stern.
Above : Moses "Mark" Stern
Judge Declares Mistrial In Senator Malcolm Smith Bribery Case Over Yiddish Translations
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the bribery and corruption trial of New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and former Queens Republican leader Vincent Tabone, the AP reported this afternoon.
The retrial of Smith and Tabone is now scheduled to begin retrial on January 5, 2015.
A third defendant, Daniel Halloran, is due back in court next week and his trial is still active.
Federal Judge Kenneth Karas declared the mistrial after the defense said it needed more time to review what it said were shoddy translations from Hungarian hasidic Yiddish of approximately 300 calls and text messages made by and to haredi scammer Moses “Mark” Stern, a Satmar hasid who turned government informant to escape a long a prison sentence.
Prosecutors insisted that a one-week delay in the trial, rather than a mistrial, should be sufficient fror the defense to study the Yiddish translations it was given by the government over the weekend, because most of those recorded conversations were completely irrelevant. For example, one is reportedly a five-minute recording of a phone conversation that is entirely about how to spell "Ritz-Carlton,” prosecutors noted.
There were also approximately 600 recorded phone calls in English that were also just released to the defense and also required time for defense attorneys to review.
There reportedly were not enough jurors on the empaneled jury who could serve through mid-July, forcing the mistrial to be declared.
There are reportedly 28 hours of Yiddish language phone calls alone that the prosecution failed to share with the defense until ordered to do so last week, claiming they were not directly relevant to the case.
Defense attorneys only learned of the recordings during the trial and objected, demanding that Judge Kenneth Karas order full disclosure. He did.
But yesterday Karas also denied a motion from the defense to dismiss the case, ruling that the government had not purposely hidden anything.
Still, Karas ruled that defense lawyers do need extra time to listen to the English-language recordings and determine whether anything they hear is useful. And there was the matter of the Yiddish recordings and text messages, as well.
Smith's lawyer, Gerald Shargel, said some of the Yiddish translations provided by the government over the weekend to the defense were "gibberish,” noting the government claimed it had quickly found 27 translators to do the work. There are plenty of "alleged Yiddish-speaking oddballs" out there who I wouldn't trust to translate the recordings and texts, Shargel claimed, insisting that he wanted to get his own certified translators.