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Attorney Convicted Of Scheme To Bribe Witness In Long Island Double Homicide Trial

Federal Court in Brooklyn.
Federal Court in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: File

A longtime attorney from Long Island has been convicted of plotting to bribe a convicted murderer to testify on behalf of his client, who was charged with the execution-style killings of two men.

John Scarpa, Jr., of Happaugue, who has been an attorney in New York State since 1982 was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn of using interstate facilities in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to do the same. The verdict came following a four-day trial.

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said that in early 2015, Scarpa and co-conspirator Charles Gallman attempted to bribe a convicted murderer to testify in support of his client, Reginald Ross, who was implicated in a double homicide.

It was determined 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. In exchange, 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. 

According to Donoghue, 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 last November 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 to three years in prison. When he is sentenced, Scarpa will face up to years behind bars. No return court date has been scheduled.

 “The jury saw through Scarpa’s corrupt scheme to help his client avoid responsibility for murder by bribing a witness to give false testimony,” Donoghue stated. “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.” 

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