You are reading

Queens DA’s Homicide Chief Resigns, Follows Revelation That He Withheld Evidence in 1996 Murder Case

Homicide Bureau Chief Brad Leventhal handed in his resignation to Queens DA Melinda Katz, following the revelation that he “deliberately” withheld evidence in a 1996 double homicide case that led to the wrongful conviction of three men   (Flickr)

March 30, 2021 By Christina Santucci

A Queens prosecutor – who a judge said had “deliberately” withheld key evidence in a 1996 double murder case that ended with the wrongful conviction of three men – has stepped down from the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Brad Leventhal, who was the DA’s long-time Homicide Bureau Chief, has resigned from his position, according to news reports.

Earlier this month, a judge vacated the wrongful conviction against the three men–George Bell, Rohan Bolt and Gary Johnson– which Leventhal prosecuted.

The men had served 24 years in prison for the killings of Ira “Mike” Epstein and NYPD Officer Charles Davis during a botched robbery in Astoria on Dec. 21, 1996.

Leventhal’s resignation was first reported Monday by QNS.com. A DA spokesperson told the news outlet that the decision was based on “mutual concern that his continued employment had become a distraction from the critical, on-going work of the office.”

Bell, Bolt and Johnson were released from prison March 5 after Judge Joseph Zayas found that the Queens District Attorney’s office and case prosecutors, Leventhal and Charles Testagrossa, had deliberately withheld key information about other suspects that raised doubt of the defendants’ guilt.

In his 29-page decision, Judge Zayas found that the prosecution had “completely abdicated its truth-seeking role.”

“Under no circumstances could the prosecutors in these cases have reasonably believed” that the information did not have to be disclosed to attorneys for Bell, Bolt and Johnson, he wrote.

“The Court, moreover, agrees with the parties that there is, at the very least, a reasonable possibility that, had this suppressed evidence been disclosed, the outcome of these trials would have been different,” Judge Zayas wrote.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has until June to decide whether to retry the three men, who are scheduled to appear in court June 4.

Leventhal’s departure from the DA’s office follows his resignation from his adjunct teaching position at St. John’s University School of Law.

The Queens DA’s office and Leventhal were not immediately available for comment.

Fellow case prosecutor, Testagrossa, also resigned from his job as the Nassau County District Attorney’s executive of the investigation’s division earlier this month.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

City hosting walking tours at the new Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways on Sunday

This Sunday, May 19, the city is conducting walking tours of the newly opened Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways to showcase the 35-acre beachfront jewel developed on a formerly vacant illegal dumping ground on Beach 44th Street in Edgemere.

The tours, hosted by the Department of City Planning (DCP), NYC Parks, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow participants to explore the preserve’s diverse ecosystem. The large preserve is a component of the upcoming Arverne East housing development, which, when completed, will be one of the most environmentally conscious developments in the United States, achieving net zero and eliminating the need for fossil fuels on-site.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.