Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York
John Scarpa, Jr.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A Kew Gardens defense attorney admitted to practice law in New York since 1982, has been convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn of scheming to bribe a witness in a double-homicide trial in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, prosecutors announced on Thursday.
Following a four-day trial, John Scarpa, Jr., 66, who lives in Hauppauge, L.I., but maintains a firm on Queens Boulevard, was found guilty of both counts of use of interstate facilities in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to do the same.
Federal officials said that the evidence at trial established that in early 2015, Scarpa plotted with co-conspirator Charles Gallman to bribe a convicted murderer to testify in support of Scarpa’s client, Reginald Ross, who was charged with the execution-style killings of two men. Court-authorized intercepted communications, obtained during an investigation conducted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office, revealed that Scarpa and borough resident Gallman planned to bribe Luis Cherry to testify falsely at trial that he alone had committed the second of the two murders, and that Ross was innocent. Gallman, also known as “T.A.,” promised to help Cherry with the appeal of his own murder conviction, and to spread word in the prison system that Cherry had not informed against Ross. After meeting with Cherry at Downstate Correctional Facility, Gallman reported to Scarpa, “Anything we need, he’s willing.” Scarpa asked, “So this guy is willing to do whatever?” Gallman replied, “Whatever you need, John. Whatever you need…I got a bunch of stuff I wrote down that he wants.” Scarpa called Cherry as a witness at Ross’s trial, and Cherry testified falsely. Notwithstanding that false testimony, the judge returned guilty verdicts on both murders.
“I will say again that integrity is the foundation of our criminal justice system,” the late Queens DA Richard Brown said last September when Scarpa and Gallman were indicted. “These allegations go to the core of that foundation and are prejudicial to the administration of justice. The charges today send a strong message to those who would undermine that integrity that they will be held accountable.”
Gallman pleaded guilty in November 2018 to conspiring to violate the Travel Act by bribing a witness to testify falsely, and conspiring to make false statements to the Bureau of Prisons in a separate scheme. He was sentenced on March 7 to three years’ imprisonment.
“The jury saw through Scarpa’s corrupt scheme to help his client avoid responsibility for murder by bribing a witness to give false testimony,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “With today’s verdict, the defendant will now face prison and disbarment for attempting to undermine the criminal justice system and violating the law he was sworn to uphold as an attorney.”
When sentenced, Scarpa faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
“Everyone accused deserves the best defense,” said FBI-NY Assistant Director-in-Charge Bill Sweeney, Jr., “but attorneys cannot use illegal methods to win in court.”