Queens Attorney Convicted of Scheme to Bribe A Witness in Double Homicide Trial on Long Island
John Scarpa, Jr., Sought False Testimony in an Effort to Acquit His Client
John Scarpa, Jr., an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York since 1982, was convicted today by a federal jury in Brooklyn of both counts of use of interstate facilities in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to do the same, stemming from his scheme to bribe a witness in a double homicide trial in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County. The verdict followed a four-day trial before United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon. When sentenced, Scarpa faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the verdict.
“The jury saw through Scarpa’s corrupt scheme to help his client avoid responsibility for murder by bribing a witness to give false testimony,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “With today’s verdict, the defendant will now face prison and disbarment for attempting to undermine the criminal justice system and violating the law he was sworn to uphold as an attorney.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance during the investigation.
The evidence at trial established that in early 2015, Scarpa plotted with co-conspirator Charles Gallman to bribe a convicted murderer to testify in support of Scarpa’s client, Reginald Ross, who was charged with the execution-style killings of two men. Court-authorized intercepted communications, obtained during an investigation conducted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, revealed that Scarpa and Gallman planned to bribe Luis Cherry to testify falsely at trial that he alone had committed the second of the two murders, and that Ross was innocent. Gallman promised to help Cherry with the appeal of his own murder conviction, and to spread word in the prison system that Cherry had not informed against Ross. After meeting with Cherry at Downstate Correctional Facility, Gallman reported to Scarpa, “Anything we need, he’s willing.” Scarpa asked, “So this guy is willing to do whatever?” Gallman replied, “Whatever you need, John. Whatever you need…. I got a bunch of stuff I wrote down that he wants.” Scarpa called Cherry as a witness at Ross’s trial, and Cherry testified falsely. Notwithstanding that false testimony, the judge returned guilty verdicts on both murders.
Gallman pleaded guilty in November 2018 to conspiring to violate the Travel Act by bribing a witness to testify falsely, and conspiring to make false statements to the Bureau of Prisons in a separate scheme. He was sentenced on March 7, 2019 to three years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Lindsay K. Gerdes, Andrey Spektor and Keith D. Edelman are in charge of the prosecution.
JOHN SCARPA, JR.
Hauppauge, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-123 S1 (CBA)