A former top Brooklyn prosecutor accused of forging judges’ signatures on wiretap warrants to keep tabs on a male cop and a female colleague was charged in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday with illegally intercepting electronic communications.
Tara Lenich, 41, a veteran of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and former deputy chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, faces up to 10 years in prison. She was fired last year when the behavior first came to light, and state charges are expected to be dismissed.
Lenich allegedly forged signatures of judges on a total of 24 30-day wiretap authorizations on two cellphones in 2015 and 2016. She allegedly misappropriated office equipment to conduct the eavesdropping, forged warrants for text messages, and used grand jury subpoenas to get information on numbers called by the target phones.
A source last year described the wiretapping as the apparent product of a “personal entanglement.”
Brooklyn Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said in a statement, “Lenich’s prosecution reflects the Office’s commitment to protecting the public from the misuse of law enforcement tools, particularly by those entrusted to use those tools in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold.”
Lenich pleaded not guilty and was released on a $500,000 bond after a court appearance on Monday. Her lawyer declined to comment on the charges.