DA: Hearing that led to cop indictments legal
Nassau prosecutors filed court papers Wednesday asserting that the grand jury proceeding that led to the indictment of three Nassau County police commanders on conspiracy charges was legally sound.
Last month, the three officers, retired Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter, retired Seventh Precinct Squad Deputy Cmdr. Alan Sharpe and retired Second Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan, all filed legal papers asking a Nassau judge to dismiss their cases because the grand jury had not heard crucial evidence exonerating them.
The defendants are accused of helping to quash an investigation into a burglary at John F. Kennedy High School in which the lead suspect was Zachary Parker, the son of a police benefactor.
Lawyers for the officers said in court papers last month that the school's principal emailed the school superintendent on May 22, 2009, saying she told police to "put everything on hold" until further notice.
The lawyers said the emails prove that their clients were heeding the wishes of the high school, not a police benefactor.
They contend the grand jury should have seen those emails.
But prosecutors said in their response papers that the emails would not have exonerated the defendants. Prosecutors also said they did not have the emails while the grand jury was convened and so could not present them as evidence. Further, papers said, the grand jury did listen to testimony from witnesses who said they had heard similar statements from the principal.
Parker eventually pleaded guilty in the burglary case in exchange for five years' probation, during which his driver's license will also be suspended.