Thursday, September 29, 2005

PAY FOR 'MAFIA' JUDGE

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family
Friends of mine: David Gross


The state's top court yesterday ruled that an alleged mob-connected Long Island judge can receive his $122,700 annual judicial salary until the case is resolved. The Court of Appeals yesterday formally suspended Nassau County District Court Judge David Gross, who is accused of moonlighting as a mob money launderer.

"The statute creates a presumption in favor of suspension with pay, corresponding to the presumption of innocence that is basic to our justice system," the court found in its unanimous two-page ruling. The judges explained that the court's usual practice is to suspend a judge with pay "unless the charged misconduct is directly connected with the performance of the judicial office." The court held open the possibility of revisiting the issue if such a link is later established.

Gross, a father of two with a wife who does not have a job, had asked the court through his lawyer not to cut off his pay because it is his family's only income. "Judges aren't permitted to pursue employment outside of their responsibilities as judges," the lawyer, John Carman, wrote the Court of Appeals.

Gross, a Democrat still running for re-election, was arrested on Aug. 30 by federal agents, who also busted several reputed Genovese crime family members with nicknames like "Joe Box," "Beaver" and "Mousey," according to court papers. An undercover agent allegedly was introduced to Gross, who offered to fence diamonds in an illegal scheme, authorities charge.

The agent allegedly caught Gross on tape demanding a $500 fee for his services. Gross also was reputedly recorded bragging to the agent that he knew how to bend campaign finance rules. Gross was released on $500,000 bond and put on administrative leave.

The 71-page affidavit outlining the case against Gross said his name surfaced in the course of an investigation of reputed mob figures and gambling on Long Island. If convicted, Gross could get up to 20 years.

Thanks to Kenneth Lovett

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