A Hempstead lawyer cleared of conspiracy and scheming to defraud charges in a New Cassel development deal that ensnared three former government officials said he feels vindicated, but the case has hurt his career.
Douglas L. Thomas, who formerly served as a lawyer for the mayor of Hempstead Village, represented himself in the seven-week jury trial before Acting Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Angelo A. Delligatti. The jury returned not-guilty verdicts on all charges on May 29.
"I feel like I've been vindicated," Thomas, who is now retired, said this week. He said the experience caused his consulting business to dry up, and kept him from other work.
"Nobody's going to reappoint somebody who's indicted," he said. "It was really quite distressing."
Thomas had been indicted on three counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree in a lengthy 2010 indictment that included former Democratic Nassau County legislators Roger Corbin and Patrick Williams, former head of the North Hempstead Community Development Agency Neville Mullings, and former North Hempstead building and planning Commissioner David Wasserman.
The men had been accused of steering a redevelopment project in New Cassel to a specific developer, selling false exclusive rights to a bank, and stealing $150,000 in public money.
Corbin was found guilty of bribe receiving and official misconduct, Williams was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy and Mullings was found guilty of two counts of official misconduct and two counts of conspiracy in two partial verdicts in a six-month trial that ended in a mistrial last year. Sentencing for the three is pending.
Charges against Wasserman were dismissed last year.