On the last night of his life, a Brooklyn executive receptionist ended a phone call with his best friend the way he always did, the friend testified Friday in Riverhead.
“Goodbye, brother. I love you,” Michael Sinclair said, according to the friend, Henry Rodrigues, 37.
The next morning — Jan. 31, 2009 — Sinclair, 32, was found shot to death on a West Babylon street.
Rodrigues testified at the second-degree murder trial of the man accused of killing Sinclair, Daniel Greenspan, 30, of Manhattan.
During questioning by Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Nancy Clifford, Rodrigues said he and Sinclair first met at the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, where they both worked. Rodrigues is a painter there.
On the night of Jan. 30, a Friday, Rodrigues said they planned to go out together, “but we were both broke. So we called it off.”
In her opening statement Thursday before state Supreme Court Justice William Condon, Clifford said a former girlfriend, Noriella Santos, later persuaded Sinclair to go out with her, first to a club in Brooklyn and then to a promised party in West Babylon. Santos — also a girlfriend of Greenspan’s — had told Greenspan that Sinclair gave her the genital herpes that she’d given to Greenspan.
There was no party in West Babylon, Clifford said. Instead, she said there were two men. One of them was Greenspan, and in revenge he shot Sinclair once in the chest and three times in the head, Clifford said.
During cross-examination by defense attorney Michael Jaccarino of Brooklyn, Rodrigues said he was aware that Sinclair had recently contracted herpes, but did not know who gave him the sexually transmitted disease. He said he’d never heard of Santos.
Before testimony began Friday, Clifford complained to the judge that defense co-counsel Arthur Aidala of Brooklyn had called in to the “Imus in the Morning” radio show that morning and said his client had never been arrested.
Actually, Clifford said Greenspan has been arrested for domestic violence — including against Santos — and for drugs in New Hampshire and threatening a police office in Pennsylvania. He has never been convicted.
“To put that misinformation out there is not right,” Clifford said.
Aidala said he appears regularly on the show and did not know he would be asked about this case. “My hope is the jury is not listening to any of this,” he said.
Condon told Aidala not to discuss the case with radio host Don Imus anymore and said he would like to avoid issuing a gag order to the attorneys.