A judge overseeing a bribery case involving a former Islip Town public safety commissioner on Tuesday ruled that the prosecution must turn over some documents sought by the defense attorney who said they would help exonerate his client.
Last week, defendant John J. Carney’s attorney, James Pascarella, of Mineola, lobbied for access to any oral or written statements given by 19 civil service candidates to investigators with the Suffolk County district attorney’s office who said they had declined job offers.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho ruled Tuesday in his Central Islip courtroom that Pascarella could have access to some of those records, which Pascarella said could be exculpatory.
Carney and Michael A. Allen, an Islip Town assistant chief fire marshal at the time of the alleged crimes, were indicted Sept. 13 for allegedly coercing four individuals to decline town fire marshal job offers so candidates who placed lower on the Civil Service list, and who were provisional employees with the town, would get the jobs, prosecutors have said.
They are both charged with four class-D felonies of third-degree bribe receiving, and 12 class-A misdemeanors — four counts of official misconduct and eight counts of second-degree coercion. The felony charges each carry a maximum prison sentence of 2 1⁄3 to 7 years, prosecutors have said.
Both pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on their own recognizance at their arraignments.
Camacho said that he found that investigation notes covered a set of applicants who were not provisional employees and who “were actually interviewed by the town and Mr. Carney” were relevant to the defense.
Meanwhile, the judge ruled, another set of the prosecution’s interview notes “clearly have no relevance” because they involve a group of applicants who were never interviewed for positions in the town.
In response to a defense subpoena issued to Islip Town, the town complied and offered a “voluminous” amount of documents, some of which were given to Pascarella, Camacho said last week. But the town attorney’s office claimed attorney-client privilege on certain documents, which Pascarella argued he was entitled to.
One set is “not covered by attorney-client privilege,” Camacho said, and include emails between town officials, such as Supervisor Angie Carpenter, and Alan Schneider, the head of Civil Service and a Suffolk county employee.
The second set of town documents, which includes emails between town officials seeking legal advice and discussing legal strategies with the town attorney, Camacho ruled are privileged and would not be given to Pascarella.
Carney resigned from his commissioner position a week before the indictment, citing health reasons. After he was indicted, Allen was demoted to his previous title of Fire Marshal II and placed on administrative duty. Allen, who will be tried separately from Carney, is due back in court May 18.
Prosecutors are expected to call 17 witnesses and spend about 2 1/2 weeks putting on their case.
Jury selection is set to start Wednesday with opening statements in the case scheduled for Tuesday.