Republican Ronald Castorina, Jr. was a New York State Assemblyman from Staten Island before being elected as a State Supreme Court Judge.
During his 2016 campaign for State Assembly, Castorina’s opponent, attorney Janine Materna, accused him of creating a fake Facebook page that resembled Materna’s official campaign page. Materna claimed that the fake Facebook page caused her to lose the election.
In 2017, the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office assigned a special prosecutor to investigate whether attorney Richard Luthmann, “a longtime friend of Castorina,” made the Facebook page and committed any crime. The first special prosecutor determined there was no crime because the First Amendment covered the conduct.
The District Attorney appointed a second special prosecutor, who convened a Grand Jury in August 2018. Then-Assemblyman Castorina was a witness for the prosecution. Based on Judge Castorina’s testimony, Luthmann was indicted and convicted of falsifying Facebook’s business records and criminally impersonating Janine Materna.
While Luthmann got no gain from it, Castorina benefited from the fake Facebook page, which his opponent attributed to her loss. He served in the assembly, and because of his elected position, Republican party bosses then picked Castorina to be a judge. Castorina’s judicial term ends on December 31, 2035.
A Facebook page did a lot for Castorina, and his disavowal of it did even more for the judge. It spared him prosecution. But was he as innocent as he claims in creating and advancing a fake Facebook page targeting and impersonating his opponent?
On the other hand, what was Luthmann’s motivation? He was not running against Materna.
Evidence shows that Castorina may have been behind it all.
Facebook records show Castorina was willing to participate in the fake Facebook page lampooning and smearing Materna but also helped Luthmann find content, including pictures.
From the available evidence, Castorina may have been the driving force or at least a co-conspirator in creating the Facebook page. At the very least, Castorina’s grand jury testimony condemns him.
Read the Full Coverage at the Frank Report