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Newark, NJ - Split Verdict in Dwek Corruption Trial Has Both Sides Claiming a Measure of Victory

Published on: February 13, 2010 10:30 PM
By: AP
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Newark, NJ - A split verdict in the first trial in New Jersey’s biggest federal corruption sting has shone a spotlight on the government’s case and particularly its reliance on a cooperating witness with an extensive criminal history.

Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, the first of 44 people arrested in last summer’s massive sweep to come to trial, was found guilty Thursday of accepting bribes from the cooperator but acquitted on the more serious charges of extortion conspiracy and attempted extortion.

The verdict left some observers puzzled because the charges all derived from the same allegations: Beldini’s acceptance of $20,000 in campaign donations and the promise of future real estate commissions from the informant, purportedly in exchange for her help with building and zoning approvals.

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“It’s actually a very confusing verdict,” said Robert Fuggi, attorney for indicted former state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, whose trial is scheduled for early May.

“She got convicted on the same counts she got acquitted on. The main thing I would take away is that the government is on tenuous ground by the way they conducted this investigation and by putting all their eggs in one basket, and the jury showed that yesterday,” Fuggi said Friday.

Not surprisingly, both sides claimed a measure of victory Thursday. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the two convictions vindicated the government’s case.

“You can’t speculate on why the jury reached one result on one count and one on another count,” Fishman said. “What we do know is that jury found that Leona Beldini accepted bribes for official action, and we’re pleased with that result.”

Brian Neary, Beldini’s attorney, said he would appeal. He said the verdict repudiates the informant, failed real estate speculator Solomon Dwek, who secretly recorded hours of meetings with public officials and was the government’s chief witness at the trial.

Dwek comes with heavy baggage. He has pleaded guilty to a $50 million bank fraud, and during the trial acknowledged running a real estate Ponzi scheme in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Neary’s strategy, sure to be employed by attorneys in future trials, sought to portray him as the initiator of any discussions of illegal activity.

In Beldini’s case, this usually occurred when she was putting on her coat to leave a meeting, as two tapes played for the jury demonstrated.

It may be significant that the two bribery charges on which Beldini was convicted were strengthened by campaign finance disclosure forms and the testimony of an accountant who worked on Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s campaign. Beldini served as Healy’s campaign treasurer. Healy has not been charged.

That wasn’t enough to convince the jury to convict Beldini on the more serious extortion counts, though, which relied more heavily on the conversations secretly taped by Dwek.

“I can’t speculate on how this will affect upcoming prosecutions,” Fishman said. “One of the defense arguments has been that the government shouldn’t use people like Solomon Dwek in these investigations. But the jury obviously rejected that argument” by convicting her on some charges.

The split verdict likely will give defense attorneys more confidence going forward, said Henry Klingeman, who represents indicted Hudson County political consultant Joseph Cardwell.

“It has to, for the simple reason that the government usually wins 100 percent of these cases, and in this one they won 33 percent,” Klingeman said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has won more than 130 convictions or guilty pleas in corruption cases during the last eight years without a defeat. That could change, Fuggi said.

“I think they’re going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they’re going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,” he said.


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1

 Feb 13, 2010 at 10:50 PM Anonymous Says:

""I think they're going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they're going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,"

Don't blame it on Dwek. He kept his word to the government and gave full can complete testimony. In simple terms, he upheld his part of the bargain to help convict these crooked politicians and the prosecution dropped the ball.

2

 Feb 14, 2010 at 01:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

""I think they're going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they're going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,"

Don't blame it on Dwek. He kept his word to the government and gave full can complete testimony. In simple terms, he upheld his part of the bargain to help convict these crooked politicians and the prosecution dropped the ball.

Wow, the piece of scum criminal who admitted that he religiously lied, cheated, stole, etc.etc.etc. finally kept his word for his own benefit after being threatened with 30 years of jail time and millions of dollars in fines, not to mention the fact that he was being paid for his cooperation over $12,000 a month for the past few years from the FBI straight from his "estate" which consists of millions that he stole from the public, banks, investors, friends, and family. It's just too late for this guy. Don't even try to stick up for him, because too many innocent people have been too badly hurt from him, and too many people have really nasty facts about him to reveal. After this whole story ends, what is his life worth? Who does he have left? There is a reason why he is all alone - he's dangerous and out of control. He owes so much to too many people and has abused everyone's trust over and over and over. What a waste. What a tragedy. What a failure.

3

 Feb 14, 2010 at 01:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

""I think they're going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they're going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,"

Don't blame it on Dwek. He kept his word to the government and gave full can complete testimony. In simple terms, he upheld his part of the bargain to help convict these crooked politicians and the prosecution dropped the ball.

Just curious, why wasn't he sentenced on the 9th when he was scheduled for a sentencing??? Was it done secretly, or did they just let him off completely???

4

 Feb 14, 2010 at 07:43 AM Anonymous Says:

The government campaign against all will fall apart. The juries see that it is all a scam, that Mr Drek is a criminal, and entrapment will not work. I hope they will eventually throw out the rest of the charges.

5

 Feb 14, 2010 at 07:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

""I think they're going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they're going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,"

Don't blame it on Dwek. He kept his word to the government and gave full can complete testimony. In simple terms, he upheld his part of the bargain to help convict these crooked politicians and the prosecution dropped the ball.

You are a crook your self since your protecting crooks such as croooook dwek
Chec out the story of king solomon

By the way you added the word crook to the defendent but when you mentioned the name of the worst crook of this decate you didn't

6

 Feb 14, 2010 at 08:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

""I think they're going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they're going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,"

Don't blame it on Dwek. He kept his word to the government and gave full can complete testimony. In simple terms, he upheld his part of the bargain to help convict these crooked politicians and the prosecution dropped the ball.

Have you ever learned Chumash? Do you know who is posul leaidus? Even US law although twisted on this has some impartial laws.
I don't expect you to have learned Mishna or Gemorah.
Posul Ledus remains that way, in his case trying to save himself at someone else's expense is posul leeidus of the hifghest degree, besides his cheskas Ganov[he never paid anyone back, nor does he plan topay back], cheskas shakron, which he still is.
Suddenly you believe & trust this scum, because you hate Rabonim & want to see them in jail.
I would like to see your books, & send the Dwecks of the FBI after you. You too are no better than this....
As for Dweck, I wonder if he will come out of jail alive, after being a snitch like this, if he gets solitry confinement, he will go nuts, and if he doesn't sit and his victims do, it is not only a travisty, but a misscarriage of justice, and will leave a great scar on the FBI, that others will demand a new office in exchange of them.

7

 Feb 14, 2010 at 08:53 AM Anonymous Says:

i think he has a plan. hes saving his behind and i dont think he is helping the govt as a witness if he tells the jury that hes a low life. either way the guys a BUM!!!
This is not the right way to do things!!!!

8

 Feb 14, 2010 at 08:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Where are all the Lubavitchers who want us to show compassion for a fellow Jew?

9

 Feb 14, 2010 at 10:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Wow, the piece of scum criminal who admitted that he religiously lied, cheated, stole, etc.etc.etc. finally kept his word for his own benefit after being threatened with 30 years of jail time and millions of dollars in fines, not to mention the fact that he was being paid for his cooperation over $12,000 a month for the past few years from the FBI straight from his "estate" which consists of millions that he stole from the public, banks, investors, friends, and family. It's just too late for this guy. Don't even try to stick up for him, because too many innocent people have been too badly hurt from him, and too many people have really nasty facts about him to reveal. After this whole story ends, what is his life worth? Who does he have left? There is a reason why he is all alone - he's dangerous and out of control. He owes so much to too many people and has abused everyone's trust over and over and over. What a waste. What a tragedy. What a failure.

Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government and they agree he has met his part of the bargain. Some claim he is a "moser" under their interpretations of halacha. Even if true, he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws, engage in all sorts of tax evasion, bribery, fraud and theft. History will judge Dwek much more favorably than those who fixate on his role as "moser" for reporting rabbonim and askanim who are now alleged felons.

10

 Feb 14, 2010 at 11:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government and they agree he has met his part of the bargain. Some claim he is a "moser" under their interpretations of halacha. Even if true, he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws, engage in all sorts of tax evasion, bribery, fraud and theft. History will judge Dwek much more favorably than those who fixate on his role as "moser" for reporting rabbonim and askanim who are now alleged felons.

Dayom people are crazy, he begged them to do crimes they didn't even wanna do

11

 Feb 14, 2010 at 11:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

""I think they're going to lose one of these high-profile cases, and they're going to lose it because of Dwek and because of the way the investigation was done,"

Don't blame it on Dwek. He kept his word to the government and gave full can complete testimony. In simple terms, he upheld his part of the bargain to help convict these crooked politicians and the prosecution dropped the ball.

Dwek- although going through tremendous stress, thinking how long he will be thrown in jail- yet he seems to still have time to post comments on vos iz neis. Truly amazing. The skin of a pig is really thick huh!?

13

 Feb 14, 2010 at 11:23 AM Anonymous Says:

As for his part in Moser, he might not have known those laws because of his obsessions and blindness in making money at all costs. As far as the lashon harah goes in all circles- it's the cause of the suffering of the shechina and reason why there is no beit mikdash. How many of you cry about it daily instead of running after the yetzer harah in some way. If you are so "religious" you would not have anything unkosher to hide and get angry over. The fact that people coerced him into strange and harsh testimonies is sad, and doesn't say much other than he's a scared coward at the mercy of sometimes dangerous organizations. His life is ruined. Hopefully no more headaches will ensue if he REALIZES this. Wishing all a KOSHER life.

14

 Feb 14, 2010 at 11:38 AM Devora Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government and they agree he has met his part of the bargain. Some claim he is a "moser" under their interpretations of halacha. Even if true, he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws, engage in all sorts of tax evasion, bribery, fraud and theft. History will judge Dwek much more favorably than those who fixate on his role as "moser" for reporting rabbonim and askanim who are now alleged felons.

Its very obvious that you know nothing about Judiasm or Halacha.. It makes no difference what these Rabonim did or didn't do.. A Moser remains a Moser, one is considered a Moser even if he only reports someone for something that results in the government taking back money from him, it dosent have to result in jail time for him to be considered one. History will judge him to be the worst thing Klal Yisruel experienced since world war 2.. He will rot in places together with Hilter & Stalin.. Hopefully he will rot in jail too.. Anyone who believes he did the right thing is part of his crimes & will end somewhere alongside him....

15

 Feb 14, 2010 at 02:41 PM bystander Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government and they agree he has met his part of the bargain. Some claim he is a "moser" under their interpretations of halacha. Even if true, he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws, engage in all sorts of tax evasion, bribery, fraud and theft. History will judge Dwek much more favorably than those who fixate on his role as "moser" for reporting rabbonim and askanim who are now alleged felons.

" Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws"
boy are you a sick and twisted mind. was this his job, his duty to do? He volunteered to be a moser and for that we say "ve'lamalshinim al tehi sikvah" ken yovdi...

16

 Feb 14, 2010 at 03:07 PM Anonymous Says:

can't wait till rabbi kasin goes to trial dwek will melt on the stand

17

 Feb 14, 2010 at 04:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government and they agree he has met his part of the bargain. Some claim he is a "moser" under their interpretations of halacha. Even if true, he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws, engage in all sorts of tax evasion, bribery, fraud and theft. History will judge Dwek much more favorably than those who fixate on his role as "moser" for reporting rabbonim and askanim who are now alleged felons.

there is famous Chinese parable. two litigants came before a judge. He could not figure out who told the truth. He told both claimants that he has a headache and needs to lay down. He invited both into his bedroom, and asked that they each tell him a story, to help him sleep. One told a story of how a young lady outsmarted a thief, and the other told a story of how a thief was able to steal the sheet of a bed while the person was sleeping on it. At that, the wise judge opened his eyes and said "the one that glorified the crook, must be one, because he idolizes him in a story".
So I think it is obvious that you, who idolize this lowlife scumbag, poor excuse of a human, and a poorer one as a Jew, are not much of an improvement of him. Pity the world does not yet know your identity, if only to stay as far away from you as possible.

18

 Feb 14, 2010 at 04:11 PM Adar Says:

Any of these guys going to trial should pray that it be this month for good luck.

19

 Feb 15, 2010 at 08:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Dwek did it all in panic to save himself. One must remember that you are not aloud to ganev the government. Its called being corrupt. If one is corrupt, its a mtzvah to expose his crimes. I'm not defending ganev Dwek, but those officials who got exposed by him, kudos to dwek, job well done. This way those corrupt officials will not become rich on our clock.
As for rabbi kasin he for sure will end up getting nothing.

20

 Feb 15, 2010 at 08:37 AM ich bin hadged Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Whatever you think of Dwek's actions, he has been a consistent witness for the government and they agree he has met his part of the bargain. Some claim he is a "moser" under their interpretations of halacha. Even if true, he has done a great public service by exposing and helping to prosecute those in the leadership of the political and yiddeshe communities who violate the laws, engage in all sorts of tax evasion, bribery, fraud and theft. History will judge Dwek much more favorably than those who fixate on his role as "moser" for reporting rabbonim and askanim who are now alleged felons.

Whenever a person is either doing the wrong thing or acting in the wrong manner everyone who supports this person always says "history will judge him favorably". Granted this applied to harry s truman. And it will apply to george w bush. However tell me, does it apply to hitler?? Does it apply to stalin?? Who are you to say this?! Let me tell you how history will look upon these events. Let me tell you what a father will tell his son: " in the summer of 2009 and the winter of 2010 the worst event since the holocoast happened to the jewish people. There was a piece of cat litter that entrapped many fine people, some even gidolim. He ruined families. Stole fortunes. Destroyed a communities unity. And single handidly dishonored an entire nation! Son, never forget what evil is. It must be etched in our memory to ensure that we distance ourselves from it. And so we may know when its coming". "Daddy, what happened to that bad man?" "Son, he got hit by a bus and dragged for a mile and a half until a car caught him and dragged him back another mile and a half".

21

 Feb 15, 2010 at 12:50 PM du bist a zift Says:

Reply to #20  
ich bin hadged Says:

Whenever a person is either doing the wrong thing or acting in the wrong manner everyone who supports this person always says "history will judge him favorably". Granted this applied to harry s truman. And it will apply to george w bush. However tell me, does it apply to hitler?? Does it apply to stalin?? Who are you to say this?! Let me tell you how history will look upon these events. Let me tell you what a father will tell his son: " in the summer of 2009 and the winter of 2010 the worst event since the holocoast happened to the jewish people. There was a piece of cat litter that entrapped many fine people, some even gidolim. He ruined families. Stole fortunes. Destroyed a communities unity. And single handidly dishonored an entire nation! Son, never forget what evil is. It must be etched in our memory to ensure that we distance ourselves from it. And so we may know when its coming". "Daddy, what happened to that bad man?" "Son, he got hit by a bus and dragged for a mile and a half until a car caught him and dragged him back another mile and a half".

Dear ich bin, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am relative of a he-who-should-be-crushed victim. I must tell you that I have been following your posts for some time now and I can't help but think of you as the voice of truth. Every thing you said was the truth. Each and every prediction you've made has been presice. Thank you thank you thank you for putting an end to the nonsense that has been spewed over this blog! Thank you and please keep it up!

22

 Feb 15, 2010 at 02:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
ich bin hadged Says:

Whenever a person is either doing the wrong thing or acting in the wrong manner everyone who supports this person always says "history will judge him favorably". Granted this applied to harry s truman. And it will apply to george w bush. However tell me, does it apply to hitler?? Does it apply to stalin?? Who are you to say this?! Let me tell you how history will look upon these events. Let me tell you what a father will tell his son: " in the summer of 2009 and the winter of 2010 the worst event since the holocoast happened to the jewish people. There was a piece of cat litter that entrapped many fine people, some even gidolim. He ruined families. Stole fortunes. Destroyed a communities unity. And single handidly dishonored an entire nation! Son, never forget what evil is. It must be etched in our memory to ensure that we distance ourselves from it. And so we may know when its coming". "Daddy, what happened to that bad man?" "Son, he got hit by a bus and dragged for a mile and a half until a car caught him and dragged him back another mile and a half".

Well spoken!

23

 Feb 15, 2010 at 10:56 PM we found masiach Says:

Reply to #20  
ich bin hadged Says:

Whenever a person is either doing the wrong thing or acting in the wrong manner everyone who supports this person always says "history will judge him favorably". Granted this applied to harry s truman. And it will apply to george w bush. However tell me, does it apply to hitler?? Does it apply to stalin?? Who are you to say this?! Let me tell you how history will look upon these events. Let me tell you what a father will tell his son: " in the summer of 2009 and the winter of 2010 the worst event since the holocoast happened to the jewish people. There was a piece of cat litter that entrapped many fine people, some even gidolim. He ruined families. Stole fortunes. Destroyed a communities unity. And single handidly dishonored an entire nation! Son, never forget what evil is. It must be etched in our memory to ensure that we distance ourselves from it. And so we may know when its coming". "Daddy, what happened to that bad man?" "Son, he got hit by a bus and dragged for a mile and a half until a car caught him and dragged him back another mile and a half".

You are soooooooooo righteous, let 's see. Equating mass-murderer hitler yemach shemo to this scenario. I didn't know shlomo sent them to gas chambers in aushwitz. What drugs are you on-high and holy? But you have never uttered a word of loshon harah, never touched unkosher money, study the business laws and have them down pat. and oh, lets not forget- you are as humble as Moshe rabbeinu.-with perfected character traits.
Please tone down the drama fool.

24

 Feb 17, 2010 at 11:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
we found masiach Says:

You are soooooooooo righteous, let 's see. Equating mass-murderer hitler yemach shemo to this scenario. I didn't know shlomo sent them to gas chambers in aushwitz. What drugs are you on-high and holy? But you have never uttered a word of loshon harah, never touched unkosher money, study the business laws and have them down pat. and oh, lets not forget- you are as humble as Moshe rabbeinu.-with perfected character traits.
Please tone down the drama fool.

relax #23. its funny cuz to me it didnt look like #20 was equating what happened to the holocaust, but merely stating it was the worst thing that happened SINCE the holocaust. which couldnt have been put better. this was a terrible terrible tragedy that struck klal yisrael as a whole and anyone who disagrees is clearly the only fool. what happened in july caused a world wide chillul Hashem and brought nothing but pain to all the innocent families.

25

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