A former chairman of the North Hempstead Democratic Committee was ordered jailed by a Nassau judge on Tuesday while he awaits sentencing for tax fraud next month.
Gerard Terry, who turned 64 on Tuesday, was immediately handcuffed by court officers after acting State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Quinn’s ruling and led out of the Mineola courtroom.
Terry, the influential political operative from Roslyn Heights, pleaded guilty to state and federal tax-fraud charges last year, and is awaiting sentencing in both cases.
Quinn did not say in court why he put Terry in jail before the former committee chairman’s June sentencing.
The judge was prepared to sentence Terry on Tuesday, as scheduled, but Terry’s attorney asked Quinn to hold off one more time and allow the sentencing in the federal case to proceed first.
The attorney, Stephen Scaring of Garden City, told the judge the reason for his request was “for guidelines and other issues,” but he did not elaborate in court and declined to do so afterward.
Scaring told the judge that federal prosecutors had asked for a delay in their case because of a scheduling conflict with one of the witnesses. The witness, who was supposed to testify in a hearing before the sentencing in Terry’s federal case, may be called the same day to testify in the ongoing trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.
“This was not our fault,” Scaring said.
Quinn, who has postponed Terry’s sentencing at least five times, agreed to put it off until June 4.
Daniel Russo, chairman of the Nassau County Bar Association’s Criminal Law and Procedure Committee , said if Terry is sentenced first in federal court and then state court, the sentences could run concurrently.
If, however, Terry is sentenced first in the state case, the sentences must run consecutively.
“I wouldn’t call it common, but it’s not unusual,” Russo said of the judge’s decision to send Terry to jail before sentencing.
His incarceration capped a fall from power for Terry, who led North Hempstead’s Democratic Committee and for decades oversaw campaigns for Nassau County officials.
On Sept. 25, Terry pleaded guilty to state criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony. In the plea, Terry admitted to not filing a 2010 state personal income tax return and not paying more than $3,000 in taxes. At the time, Quinn said he would give Terry a “split” sentence of up to 6 months in jail and 5 years’ probation.
On Oct. 12, Terry pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Central Islip to tax evasion and admitted to not paying nearly any of his federal income taxes over 18 years, which amounted to nearly $1 million. Federal prosecutors called for Terry to serve a prison term of four and a half years.
Terry, who is being held at the Nassau County Correctional Center in East Meadow, is scheduled to be sentenced in the federal case on May 29.
The Appellate Division Second Department in Brooklyn, which has oversight over attorneys, stripped Terry of his license to practice law.
“The respondent, Gerard Terry, is disbarred, effective September 25, 2017, and his name is stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law . . . ,” according to the May 9 decision.