Vos Iz Neias
March 7, 2014
Putting an end to the three-year-old case which he has called “botched” since its inception, Kings County DA Kenneth Thompson announced on Friday that neither of the witnesses in the extortion case against Samuel Kellner are “credible,” and that his office plans to dismiss the charges.
“After a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that the charges against Samuel Kellner must be dismissed. We’ve reached this conclusion because we do not believe that we can prove these charges at trial,” said District Attorney Thompson in a statement.
The case became a hot button issue during last November’s election, with Thompson offering harsh criticism of Kellner’s prosecution, while former DA “Joe” Hynes stuck to his guns in insisting that Kellner had, in fact, tried to extort money from the man accused of groping his son.
Speaking to The JEWISH WEEK (http://bit.ly/1lbha75) on Thursday evening, the 52 year-old Kellner spoke cautiously about the impending end to his three-year ordeal, saying said that while he was grateful that case is finally over, the cost to him and his family has been monumental.
Kellner said that between his case and the fact that the verdict in Baruch Lebovits’ molestation case was overturned, he has lost faith in the criminal justice system, and that only a full investigation into matter, as well as into the handling of the case by Hynes’ office—-will bring closure.
“If, in the end,” said Kellner, “they will investigate what happened here and go after the intimidators, it would mean that all of this tampering and intimidation would end, that these people no longer run the streets. And that is probably worth the whole pain and suffering of my indictment because I don’t see any other way we could have accomplished this.”
And if there is no further investigation by Thompson’s office, then Kellner said, “Where is the government that is supposed to protect me? It would be very hard to justify that another father should go to the secular court, even with a [dispensation] from the rabbis. It will mean these people have won and it’s over.And all of this pain and suffering from the last six years has been for no cause. I can’t imagine how I will overcome it.”
Reaction from Brooklyn’s Jewish community has been swift, as Assemblyman Dov Hikind who attended the court hearings this morning said, “Since last year I have had great concern with regard to the integrity of the case against Sam Kellner and I called on Brooklyn’s former District Attorney to dismiss the case, which had dragged on for too long.
I was pleased when Brooklyn’s new District Attorney Ken Thompson appointed a new prosecutor to consider the facts in the case and now I am relieved that all charges against Sam have been dropped and this ordeal is finally over.
I am grateful, and our entire community is grateful, to Brooklyn’s new District Attorney Ken Thompson, for righting this wrong.”