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Defense: Prosecution seeks kickback accusation for Seabrook trial

Lawyers for former corrections union boss Norman Seabrook,

Lawyers for former corrections union boss Norman Seabrook, center, in 2016, revealed on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, that prosecutors in his bribery trial want previous kickback accusations introduced. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Lawyers for Norman Seabrook, former boss of the New York City correction officers’ union, revealed on Wednesday that prosecutors in his upcoming trial for allegedly taking payoffs from a hedge fund in 2014 want to introduce evidence of an alleged 2002 kickback scheme involving a union insurance plan.

The disclosure of the previously unreported accusation came in a defense motion to keep it out of the October trial of Seabrook and hedge fund executive Murray Huberfeld. Seabrook’s lawyers tried to file their motion under seal, but U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan said no.

Seabrook, 57, is accused of taking $60,000 for steering $20 million in union pension money to Huberfeld’s fund. According to the motion, prosecutors say Seabrook asked a life insurance company to do “something ‘for the Union, or for me’ personally” to get business 15 years ago.

The motion said prosecutors contend that when the company declined, Seabrook called it “unfortunate” and ceased discussions. Seabrook’s defense team denied the incident occurred, and said evidence of a never-charged allegation shouldn’t be allowed to prejudice jurors in an unrelated case.

“When the government seeks to admit what it claims is a 15-year-old prior act . . . we know it’s case is not strong,” Seabrook attorney Paul Shechtman said. “The act did not occur and the government’s purported evidence should not be part of a fair trial.”

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.

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