Troubled Trial of Sam Kellner Is Delayed — Claimed His Son Was Abused

Brooklyn Dad Charged With Shaking Down Accused Molester

Cleared: Baruch Lebovits conviction was overturned amid questions about testimony against him. The extortion trial of Sam Kellner, whose son was allegedly molested by Lebovits, has now been delayed.
Cleared: Baruch Lebovits conviction was overturned amid questions about testimony against him. The extortion trial of Sam Kellner, whose son was allegedly molested by Lebovits, has now been delayed.

By Paul Berger

Published November 12, 2013.
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The troubled bribery and extortion trial of a Brooklyn man who says his son was a victim of child abuse has been delayed — again.

Laughter could be heard in the Brooklyn Supreme Court courtroom, November 12, when prosecutor John Holmes said that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office was still not ready to try the case, which has dragged on for two years.

Kellner is accused of paying a witness $10,000 to falsely testify in the trial of a Brooklyn cantor on sex abuse charges. He is also accused of trying to extort the cantor’s family for $400,000.

Kellner’s lawyers had anticipated that the charges against their client would be dropped this week.

Lawyer Michael Dowd told the court that prosecutors contacted his office last week to say that they were dropping the case for lack of evidence.

The same prosecutors told the court in July that a key witness against Kellner had given inconsistent testimony.

But, according to the New York Post, Brooklyn rackets chief Michael Vecchione overruled the prosecutors and demoted them.

Prosecutor Holmes said that he did not know who had been assigned to take over the case. Nor could he answer questions posed by Kellner’s attorney or by Judge Ann M. Donnelly.
Donnelly set a trial date for the first week in January.

By that time, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes will have been replaced by Ken Thompson, who shocked observers by beating Hynes in this year’s election.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger


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