From start to finish, a Manhattan woman’s involvement in the killing of a former boyfriend has been marked by a constant series of lies, the defense attorney for another former boyfriend on trial for murder suggested while cross-examining her Monday in Riverhead.
Even when Noriella Santos, 27, told the truth about how she lured Michael Sinclair, 32, from Brooklyn to West Babylon early on Jan. 31, 2009, she conceded during questioning by the defense that her actions were a deception.
Arthur Aidala, the Brooklyn lawyer for the defendant, Daniel Greenspan, 30, of Manhattan, showed Santos a video of her leaving a Brooklyn club, arm in arm with Sinclair, two hours before he was shot to death. “That whole night was a lie, correct?” Aidala asked.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Santos said.
Suffolk prosecutors say Greenspan became enraged after he contracted genital herpes in the fall of 2008. He believed that Santos gave it to him when they reunited after she had dated Sinclair while they were apart.
Santos testified last week before state Supreme Court Justice William Condon that Greenspan ordered her to reach out to Sinclair and lure him to Long Island with the promise of a nonexistent party so that Greenspan could rob him and humiliate him.
Instead, Santos said she watched Greenspan shoot Sinclair to death.
Not only were her actions that night one long deception, Aidala suggested that Santos has since told shifting versions of events to escape trouble. When she decided to cooperate with prosecutors, Aidala suggested during questioning that Santos had talked her way out of jail.
Aidala told jurors in his opening statement that they can trust no story Santos tells.
Santos had originally been charged with second-degree murder and, like Greenspan now, faced a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. That changed after she hired Manhattan attorney Michael Dowd as her attorney.
“He understood my case very well,” Santos said. “He specializes in representing victims of battered women syndrome.”
Several times Santos said Greenspan threatened and beat her.
As part of her cooperation agreement, Santos pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted robbery and is likely to be sentenced to 5 years probation.
“So it’s fair to say Mr. Dowd did a sensational job, yes?” Aidala said, as Dowd smiled a few feet behind him in the audience. Santos agreed.
She also said that generally it’s better to be free on bail than in jail, as she was for almost four months before her guilty plea. But she told Aidala that if the choice was living with Greenspan or being behind bars, “I probably had a nicer time in jail.”
Santos agreed that the first two versions of events that she gave to homicide detectives during 12 hours of questioning were fabrications, but that she lied because she was afraid of Greenspan.
“Tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, where in the precinct was Dan?” Aidala said to her, adding that she was surrounded by police who could protect her.
“He didn’t have to be there,” she replied.