Monday, January 30, 2006
Pol, aide surrender on judge-buy charge
By NANCIE L. KATZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Brooklyn Democratic party boss Clarence Norman arrives at District Attorney Charles Hynes' office last night.
Brooklyn Democratic party boss Clarence Norman and his top aide surrendered last night on charges they made $100,000 the going rate for a Brooklyn judgeship.
Norman, who was indicted last month on separate grand larceny charges, carried buttermilk cookies and joked with reporters about spending his second night on a cot in Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' office.
"Since I've been here before, I knew to bring my cookies and magazines," said Norman, who arrived on foot just after 9 p.m. with a half-dozen friends and supporters. "Why should I be angry? How many times do you have a second chance to spend the night in the district attorney's office?
"We all know this is nothing more than a bunch of nonsense."
Norman and Jeffrey Feldman, the party's executive director, are expected to be arraigned today on charges they shook down three judges up for reelection in 2002 after the party had endorsed them.
They were indicted on 22 counts Friday. The indictment was set to be unsealed today.
Each faces up to seven years in prison, if convicted on the top count of grand larceny.
Feldman arrived about 15 minutes before Norman, accompanied by his attorney, Ronald Aiello. "We are at a loss - a total loss - as to what crimes could have been committed by Mr. Feldman," said Aiello.
A source said Feldman allegedly told Civil Court judges Karen Yellen, Marcia Sikowitz and Margaret Cammer they each had "to come up with 100 grand or we're going to take this away from you."
The indictment also charges the pair warned Yellen in a separate incident that she would be thrown off the ticket if she did not pay certain favored consultants, another sources said.
Sources close to the case said all three women as well as a Brooklyn district leader are expected to testify against Feldman and Norman, who also is a longtime state assemblyman and controls judgeships in the heavily Democratic borough.
The dual surrender came a month after another grand jury declined to issue a formal charge on the alleged scheme to sell seats on the bench.
It also came a month after Norman was indicted for allegedly putting $5,000 in campaign funds into his own checking account, taking more than $5,000 in gas reimbursements for travel to Albany and for an elections law violation.
He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of those charges.
Norman contends Hynes has been on a witch hunt for the leaders of the same party that helped him get into office - and that making judicial candidates spend money on their campaigns is not tantamount to selling judgeships.
Hynes' office refused to comment yesterday.
With Derek Rose
Originally published on November 18, 2003