Editor’s Note: This article by Dick LaFontaine first appeared on Frank Report on March 22, 2023.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is seeking an indictment of former US President Donald Trump.
Now, the controversial prosecutor is accused of hiding hundreds of pages of evidence from a New York grand jury.
That evidence, the attorney who provided it to Bragg said, would exonerate Trump of some or all charges the ethics-challenged but politically savvy prosecutor contemplated.
If true, Bragg’s conduct amounts to prosecutorial misconduct.
Attorney Costello, who was formerly a Trump legal advisor, was called into the Grand Jury room. He fully expected to tell the truth and the whole truth about the totality of the documents he provided to the ambitious if mendacious Bragg.
He found Bragg had only introduced six pages out of hundreds of documents Costello handed over.
While the six pages standing in a vacuum tend to suggest the opportunistic Bragg’s theories of crimes might hold up in a Trump trial if Bragg got an imbecile jury, the other 394 pages provided context for the six and tend to show Trump’s efforts were legitimate.
In short, the all-brag-and-no-fact Bragg was looking to mislead the jury.
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett told Sean Hannity, “When Bob Costello got into that Grand Jury room and told them, ‘Wait a minute. You don’t have the hundreds of pages I handed over to Alvin Bragg over here? You only have six cherry-picked documents?’ You know, hiding from grand juries exculpatory information is reprehensible and unconscionable.”
New York State law imposes a duty of “fair dealing” on prosecutors.
Great powers are bestowed upon a District Attorney, “requiring the exercise of completely impartial judgment and discretion.”
Luthmann Claims 2018 Prosecution was “Blueprint” for “Crooked Prosecutors”
New York has long been home to politically-motivated prosecutions by crooked prosecutors.
Ask John Kennedy O’Hara, who Brooklyn DA Joe Hines’ political opponent. He lost his law license and was tagged a felon, until he was vindicated 25 years later.
Luthmann says what Trump is seeing from Bragg is what Staten Island Special Prosecutor Eric Nelson did in a 2018 Staten Island grand jury to “Get Richard Luthmann.”
“I believe my 2018 case was a blueprint for the current ‘Get Trump’ witch-hunt,” Luthmann said. He continued, “Both cases have all the marking of political hit-jobs. Both have witnesses with zero credibility who are clearly lying. And in both cases, the crooked prosecutors appear to commit crimes to secure an indictment against the most unpopular person in town.”
“Prosecutor Eric Nelson is no different from Alvin Bragg,” Luthmann says.
On August 25, 2017, Spectrum NY1 News broke the story that Luthmann was behind several “Fake Facebook” pages used to lampoon Staten Island political candidates during their election bids.
Luthmann was later indicted in 2018 on a 17-count indictment, including multiple felony charges of Falsification of Business Records and Identity Theft. He also faced charges of criminal impersonation, election law violations, stalking, and falsely reporting an incident to the NYPD.
Sources say “Falsification of Business Records” is a charge prosecutors are now seeking against Trump.
Luthmann served four years of prison time for these and unrelated charges. He is now seeking to have his case thrown out because he alleges Special Prosecutor Nelson committed crimes in securing the indictment, including subornation of perjury of sitting NYS Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castorina, Jr.
Luthmann’s case was recently “punted” from Staten Island, and is now in the hands of Brooklyn Judge Donald Leo, set for an April 4 conference.
Luthmann is also suing Justice Castorina for unpaid fees related to the “Fake Facebook” in Albany Supreme Court.
Trump Prosecutors Are Committing Prosecutorial Misconduct
The New York State Court of Appeals, New York State’s Highest Court, defined the bounds of proper prosecutorial conduct before a Grand Jury in the case of People v. Huston:
Our State Constitution guarantees that “[n]o person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime … unless on indictment of a grand jury” (NY Const, art I, § 6; see also, CPL art 190). By acting as a “buffer between the State and its citizens,” the Grand Jury shields against prosecutorial excesses and protects individuals from unfounded prosecutions.
In a Grand Jury presentation, when prosecutors withhold exonerating evidence or only tell one side of the story when they know the other side would clear the target, they have violated the law, and any indictment is fatally defective.
In New York, a prosecutor’s discretion during Grand Jury proceedings is not absolute. As legal advisor to the Grand Jury, the prosecutor performs dual functions: that of public officer and that of advocate. The prosecutor is thus “charged with the duty not only to secure indictments but also to see that justice is done.”
With great power comes responsibility, including “the prosecutor’s duty of fair dealing.”
“Bragg’s bent Prosecutors are not honest brokers when they show the Grand Jury only six out of hundreds of pages. If you promised somebody you would do a hundred, and you only did six, they would throw you in jail for fraud. And that is where these crooked prosecutors belong,” Luthmann said.
Echoes of Luthmann’s “Show Trial” Staten Island Grand Jury Proceeding
“Political prosecutions are nothing but ‘show trials’ against people feared by the Establishment. I faced one beginning in 2018, and the Staten Island ‘Swamp’ lied, cheated, and committed felonies in order to tag me a felon,” Luthmann says.
Trump says Alvin Bragg is no different than Richmond County Special District Attorney Eric Nelson, the Incompetent Appointed Special Prosecutor in his case who cavorted with known felons and disbarred lawyers and knowingly suborned perjury to indict Luthmann.
Luthmann’s case has still not been thrown out, even though Luthmann produced a “smoking gun” email showing Nelson conspired to commit the felony of unauthorized practice of law with felon and disbarred attorney Perry Reich to “Get Luthmann” and did so as the so-called representative of the “People” of the state of New York:
Not even Staten Island District Attorney and Nancy Pelosi loyalist Michael E. McMahon would allow his prosecutors to overtly commit crimes in order to obtain indictments, even though the Luthmann prosecution is McMahon’s vendetta and vanity case, with the cost to NYC Taxpayers of over $700,000 according to records obtained from the NYC Comptroller – and the meter is still running. Luthmann claims Nelson and McMahon have “bilked” New York City Taxpayers.
How is it “fair dealing” when Nelson is engaging disbarred attorneys and convicted felons in order to secure a crooked indictment?
Subornation of Perjury and Perjurers
Attorney Robert Costello was called as a witness in Trump’s New York grand jury investigation into an alleged payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels. Costello claimed that testimony from the former Trump attorney Michael Cohen is “far from solid evidence.”
Costello told reporters following his testimony that Cohen is “totally unreliable” in the probe against Trump. He added that the disgraced lawyer is “a convicted perjurer.”
Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said Michael Cohen had the credibility of a “pipe cleaner.”
Harvard Law Professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz also added his perspective on Sean Hannity’s show:
“I think that Bob Costello has changed this case dramatically. I think that Bragg right now only has two possible results from that. Number one, he can say, alright, ‘I’m going to try to make the case without Cohen.’ He cannot use Cohen as a witness anymore.”
“That would be unethical because of the testimony that Costello gave,” he went on. “Or he could say, ‘Look, I have to drop the case.’ He may not be able to make it without Cohen. But if he can’t make it without Cohen, he can’t make it, because no ethical prosecutor is allowed to put on as a witness, somebody who has told the lies and has contradicted himself so much.”
“So I think that Bob Costello — it’s a game changer,” he added. “I think maybe that’s a reason for the delay here. I think ethical experts are now telling Bragg, wait a minute, you cannot use Cohen. So if you can make it through Pecker, if you can make it through some of the other people, okay, go ahead. But if you can’t make it without Cohen, you cannot bring this charge.”
Luthmann says this is textbook in a New York politically-motivated takedown. “The prosecutors in President Trump’s case are doing the same thing they did in my case. They are knowingly presenting false and unreliable testimony of totally discredited witnesses,” Luthmann said.
Luthmann claims Prosecutor Nelson went a step further in his case, actually knowingly suborning the perjury of then NYS Assemblyman and current Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castorina, Jr.
“All this ground is being covered by Investigative Journalist Frank Paralto in his series on sitting Judge Castorina’s perjury. Nelson knew what he was doing. He read the Facebook Messages between me and Castorina. He knew what Castorina said and did but only read the Grand Jury one side of the conversation and had the sitting Assemblyman swear to it,” Luthmann said.
Castorina’s crooked grand jury testimony was calculated to persuade jurors that Luthmann acted alone, was solely guilty, and Castorina was neither an accomplice nor co-conspirator. Castorina was both, and his testimony made him a perjurer to boot.
On February 7, 2023, Frank Parlato reported NYS Attorney General Letitia James’ Office has been aware of the perjury of a sitting Justice Castorina, and “emails have circulated among numerous officials at that office.” Last November, Luthmann filed a complaint with the NY AG’s Public Integrity Bureau.
Whether it will lead to an investigation, an indictment for perjury, or the removal of Judge Castorina from the bench, possibly without his law license, is hard to know. Luthmann believes Castorina’s prosecution is exactly what Tish James needs politically.
“I think Tish James needs to take out Justice Castorina to show the world and her own office that they are not Political Hacks. And he’s an easy target as a crooked Republican Judge and former Assemblyman and County Leader. Media reports say Alvin Bragg’s office already has massive dissension in the ranks,” Luthmann said.
Luthmann: “Read the Grand Jury Testimony”
“Frank Paralto is laying the truth bare in his reporting. He shows that Ronald Castorina is a perjurer and Eric Nelson is a corrupt prosecutor. Nelson even went so far as to tell a grand juror who asked about the First Amendment, ‘I’m not giving a course on free speech.’ Well, that’s the job of a prosecutor when a grand juror asks. Nelson didn’t do his job. How this case hasn’t been thrown out yet, I’ll never know,” Luthmann said.
Luthmann believes Castorina and Nelson’s misconduct in the Grand Jury rendered his Indictment fatally defective. He says the same thing about Alvin Bragg’s current “witch hunt” of Donald Trump.
Luthmann believes the Trump Grand Jury is delayed for just this reason, that Bragg and his cabal are trying to get around Michael Cohen’s knowingly false and unreliable testimony, which would be devastating to any Indictment.
Fortunately, in New York State, Grand Jury minutes are transcribed and made available in criminal cases. Luthmann believes that if Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg fails to follow the law and presses a legally defective Indictment, Trump’s Attorney, Joe Tacopina, will make short work of the case.
Luthmann, now out of prison, disabled, and indigent, has his own challenges.
“Trump has plenty of money and the best lawyers. He’ll be fine. For me, it’s five years later, and I’m broke. I have the evidence the Fake Facebook case should be thrown out, but I’ve been waiting for years. I’m getting the amount of justice I can afford.”
“Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as John Kennedy O’Hara, and I won’t have to wait for a quarter-century or for McMahon’s retirement for vindication. Trump’s case is just another in a long line of Crooked New York Politically-Based Prosecutions.”
Dick LaFontaine chases gripping, thorny, and precarious stories around the world as a correspondent for the Frank Report.