Judge nixes bids by Narcy Novack, brother to toss convictions
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A federal judge Thursday quickly denied bids by lawyers for Narcy Novack and her brother to toss out last month's conviction on charges that they set up the attacks that led to the brutal 2009 murders of her rich husband and his 86-year-old mother to inherit an $8 million fortune.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains knocked down a motion by Novack's lawyer Howard Tanner and Cristobal Veliz's lawyer Lawrence Sheehan for an acquittal or a new trial in the case where a jury rendered guilty verdicts on June 20 against Novack, 55, and Veliz, 59, in the murder of hotel heir Ben Novack Jr. in the Rye Brook Hilton and the slaying three months earlier of his mother in Florida.
Tanner and Sheehan filed their motions late Wednesday afternoon, and on Thursday, Karas bounced them out of court.
"Based on the arguments and citations of law in support made by the defense during trial, I move for a judgment of acquittal due to the government's failure to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt," Tanner wrote.
Sheehan also wrote a one-page letter to Karas asking for dismissal of Veliz's conviction. Sheehan said he was relying on his trial arguments in making the request.
The attorneys also were unsuccessful in getting Karas to grant a mistrial or dismissal during the two-month federal trial. The letters restate those requests.
In a short handwritten notes on the filings from Novack and Veliz, Karas dismissed the requests.
"The motions are denied," Karas wrote on Veliz's filing, echoing what he wrote on Novack's motion.
In a 15-count indictment, Novack and Veliz were convicted of all charges but one. The only count they were cleared of was the murder of Novack Jr., the son of the founder of the legendary Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
After the trial, several jurors said they didn't believe the killing was part of a robbery. Under federal law, prosecutors needed to prove the robbery in order to secure the murder conviction.
Novack and Veliz face a Nov. 1 sentencing where they could be sent to prison for life. They are being held at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla.
Herbert Hadad, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment.
Prosecutors said Narcy Novack plotted the killings because she feared that Novack Jr., who was having an affair with 40-year-old ex-stripper and porn actress Rebecca Bliss, was planning to divorce her. A prenuptial agreement would have left the divorcee with a mere $65,000, prosecutors said.
Narcy Novack, an ex-Florida stripper herself, and Veliz, who lived in Brooklyn, hired confessed hit men Joel Gonzalez and Alejandro Garcia to beat Novack Jr. with barbells and slit his eyeballs with a utility knife in his hotel suite.
In April 2009, the defendants hired Garcia and Melvin Medrano -- who has been deported to Nicaragua -- to pummel Bernice Novack to death with a wrench in her Fort Lauderdale home.
Novack and Veliz continued to profess their innocence. And in several courtroom outbursts during the nine-week trial, Veliz pointed the finger at Narcy Novack's daughter, May Abad as the real author of the plot to kill Novack Jr. and his mother, so Abad and her two sons could inherit the fortune.