Federal prosecutors in Manhattan called on Monday for a former NYPD lieutenant from Long Island to get a substantial prison sentence on corruption charges despite his efforts to cooperate and implicate higher-ups in giving breaks on gun licenses to prominent New Yorkers.
A lawyer for Paul Dean, 46, of Wantagh, a former second in command in the licensing division, asked last week for no jail time on bribery conspiracy charges and told the judge Dean had given prosecutors information on favored treatment for individuals, including Donald Trump, his lawyer, Michael Cohen, TV personality Sean Hannity, and grocery mogul John Catsimatidis.
But prosecutors said the efforts to cooperate were not substantial enough for Dean to escape prison because he himself had been a supervisor during a period of “rampant corruption,” and they asked U.S. District Judge Edgar Ramos to impose an 18- to 24-month sentence.
Dean, they said, not only presided over a system in which he and others took gifts and favors from those seeking licenses while he was a cop, but also later retired to start a license-expediting business in which he conspired to make money by paying his former subordinates to help with licenses for his clients.
“Dean was a knowing and willing participant in the criminal conduct at issue, not a scapegoat,” prosecutors said. “The conduct of others involved in the offense should not distract the court from the severity of Dean’s crime.”
In his letter to Ramos last week, defense lawyer Abe George told the judge that Dean had met three times with prosecutors to describe how his licensing division commander directed a “favor” system for NYPD retirees and powerful friends of the department with the approval of Commissioners Ray Kelly and William Bratton, but was never prosecuted.
Among others, he said, individuals connected to police unions, those who gave to the Police Athletic League and NYC Police Foundation, and at least one businesswoman with connections to Mayor Bill de Blasio were given special treatment.
Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., got full carry licenses without the proper documentation in their files, according to Dean’s lawyer, and former Sony CEO Tommy Mottola, Estee Lauder boss Ron Lauder, one-time Fox News boss Roger Ailes and a Jordanian prince also got special treatment.
The letter from George said Dean also told prosecutors that the NYPD licensing division had a mutual aid pact with the former head of the licensing division in Nassau County, each to give licenses to individuals recommended by the other.
In their letter to the judge, prosecutors said Dean’s efforts to provide information were praiseworthy, but some of his claims couldn’t be corroborated, some were “self serving,” and other conduct he reported, “even if true and unethical, did not rise to the level of a federal crime.”
Dean’s lawyer contends Dean should get credit for pleading guilty, accepting responsibility for what he did, and having the courage to try to break the “blue wall of silence” by disclosing wider corruption to prosecutors.
“This is one of those rare cases that exacting a jail sentence . . . could create a chilling effect on future officers caught up on the wrong side of the law because they might not perceive any benefit in cooperating,” George wrote.