You are reading

Queens DA’s Homicide Chief Resigns, Follows Revelation That He Withheld Evidence in 1996 Murder Case

Queens DA Melinda Katz (Photo: Instagram @queensdakatz)

March 30, 2021 By Christina Santucci

A Queens prosecutor – who a judge said had “deliberately” withheld key evidence in a 1996 double murder case that ended with the wrongful conviction of three men – has stepped down from the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Brad Leventhal, who was the DA’s long-time Homicide Bureau Chief, has resigned from his position, according to news reports.

Earlier this month, a judge vacated the wrongful conviction against the three men–George Bell, Rohan Bolt and Gary Johnson– which Leventhal prosecuted.

The men had served 24 years in prison for the killings of Ira “Mike” Epstein and NYPD Officer Charles Davis during a botched robbery in Astoria on Dec. 21, 1996.

Leventhal’s resignation was first reported Monday by QNS.com. A DA spokesperson told the news outlet that the decision was based on “mutual concern that his continued employment had become a distraction from the critical, on-going work of the office.”

Bell, Bolt and Johnson were released from prison March 5 after Judge Joseph Zayas found that the Queens District Attorney’s office and case prosecutors, Leventhal and Charles Testagrossa, had deliberately withheld key information about other suspects that raised doubt of the defendants’ guilt.

In his 29-page decision, Judge Zayas found that the prosecution had “completely abdicated its truth-seeking role.”

“Under no circumstances could the prosecutors in these cases have reasonably believed” that the information did not have to be disclosed to attorneys for Bell, Bolt and Johnson, he wrote.

“The Court, moreover, agrees with the parties that there is, at the very least, a reasonable possibility that, had this suppressed evidence been disclosed, the outcome of these trials would have been different,” Judge Zayas wrote.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has until June to decide whether to retry the three men, who are scheduled to appear in court June 4.

Leventhal’s departure from the DA’s office follows his resignation from his adjunct teaching position at St. John’s University School of Law.

The Queens DA’s office and Leventhal were not immediately available for comment.

Fellow case prosecutor, Testagrossa, also resigned from his job as the Nassau County District Attorney’s executive of the investigation’s division earlier this month.

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Charles Castro

Wow, this POS gets to retire with a pension, no punishment for what he did. It’s a shame. Send this MF to prison.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Queens Public Library celebrates Black History Month with nearly 150 programs highlighting Black resistance, culture

Feb. 2, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Throughout February, Queens Public Library will celebrate “Black Resistance” — the theme of its 2023 Black History Month observance — with nearly 150 comprehensive programs and initiatives, including theater performances, author talks and art workshops for all ages, spotlighting various aspects of Black heritage, culture and resilience. 

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime.