Evidence photos from the attempted sex trafficking, kidnapping and weapons...

Evidence photos from the attempted sex trafficking, kidnapping and weapons possession trial of Andrew Frey, released by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Credit: USAEDNY

Attorneys for a Coram man convicted of attempting to kidnap and force women into sex trafficking are seeking a new trial, arguing prosecutors failed to prove their case — instead proving he tried to take two sex workers to secluded places where he could “torture and kill” them.

Andrew Frey, 57, is facing 15 years to life in prison following his conviction at jury trial last September on two counts each of attempted sex trafficking and attempted kidnapping. His attorneys argued in a June 2 motion referencing the “Gilgo Beach Serial Killer” that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction on the charges he faced.

“The government’s evidence and arguments had nothing to do with commercial sex and everything to do with persuading the jury that Andrew Frey was a vicious predatory killer of numerous vulnerable prostitutes, not just [the trial victims], caught with all the tools he maintained at the ready to torture and kill,” Tracey Gaffey of Federal Defenders of New York wrote in a memo supporting the motion for U.S. District Court Judge Joan Azrack to set aside the verdict.

Gaffey and co-counsel Charles Millioen are seeking a new trial, arguing that “letting the guilty verdicts stand would be a manifest injustice.”

In October 2018, Frey lured a sex worker into his car in Mastic, then grabbed her by the neck, locked the doors and drove erratically while attempting to lure her to a secluded area near the ocean beach at Smith Point, according to evidence presented at trial. The woman jumped from his moving vehicle and sustained back injuries as a result. He later located her in a friend’s car and approached her armed with a knife, prosecutors said.

In a second incident, Frey attempted to take another woman to a wooded area in the Rocky Point pine barrens in July 2019, and when she refused, he screamed that he "owned" her and grabbed her arm to prevent her from fleeing, prosecutors had said. She, too, jumped from his moving car, sustaining knee injuries.

In her memo, Gaffey pointed to trial testimony from the two women, whose services Frey had secured in the past, saying they both escaped because they believed he intended to kill them.

“What is more of a threat to the women than risking life and limb jumping from a fast-moving vehicle?” Gaffey wrote. “Not having commercial sex (their voluntary profession) on the beach or in the woods, but torture and death in a place where no one can hear them scream.”

Gaffey said most of the Long Island jury also would have heard about the unsolved killings of sex workers whose bodies were found near Gilgo Beach, prejudicing her client.

“Even if the government’s evidence did not specifically invoke the ‘Gilgo Beach Serial Killer,’ the jury was told that Andrew Frey was certainly a would-be serial killer who preyed on prostitutes,” Gaffey wrote. “The jury would certainly have to conclude, jury instructions notwithstanding, that they had to convict him because — as [one victim] said, “How many other people could possibly be killed? How many other people could possibly be kidnapped and hurt … who knows?”

Gaffey also said prosecutors never provided evidence that what they called Frey’s “kidnapper tool kit” was in his Jeep at the same time as the two women. She wrote that prosecutors said the kit contained two pairs of handcuffs, black gloves with reinforced knuckles, black leather gloves, length of rope with a carabiner on one end, flip-open knife with a sheath, large machete knife, dog collar with a leash attached and two smaller Swiss army-type knives.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has until July 7 to respond to the motion.

What to know

  • Andrew Frey, 57, of Coram, was convicted of two counts each of attempted sex trafficking and attempted kidnapping in September.
  • His attorneys now say the verdict should be set aside, arguing prosecutors failed to present evidence proving those charges, but rather that Frey aimed to "torture and kill" the two sex workers who escaped his vehicle.
  • He would serve a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in federal prison if he is sentenced on the existing charges he was convicted of.

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