Tag Archives: trial

Trial for Flushing doctor facing manslaughter charges will start Friday


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Flushing doctor accused of fatally overdosing two patients will go on trial Friday morning in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Stan Xuhui Li, a New Jersey anesthesiologist, was indicted on manslaughter charges in 2012 for illegally prescribing highly addictive painkillers to 20 patients and causing the deaths of Joseph Haeg, 37, and Nicholas Rappold, 21.

Li is charged with a total of 219 counts. He has pleaded not guilty.

He operated a popular weekend pain clinic, Medical Pain Management, in a Flushing basement at 132-59 41st Rd.

 

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Sen. Malcolm Smith’s lawyer wants federal corruption trial delayed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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State Senator Malcolm Smith wants his federal corruption trial delayed, as he runs for re-election and awaits a judge’s decision to dismiss some charges, his lawyer said.

He and former Councilmember Dan Halloran will return to court Feb. 28.

The pair and four others were accused last April of conspiring with the city’s Republican Party leaders to allow Smith, a Democrat, to run for mayor as a Republican.

Federal prosecutors said Halloran negotiated payoffs and set up meetings between Smith and the county bosses, allegedly pocketing thousands in the process.

Lawyers for the two say the act is not considered bribery under New York state law.

A judge will soon decide on motions to throw out some of the charges, said Smith’s attorney, Gerald Shargel.

“It’s progressing in the normal course,” Shargel said.

Smith’s lawyer also wants the trial delayed until after this year’s Democratic primary to give the southeast Queens politician a fighting chance at re-election.

The primary is expected to take place in September, while the trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Two challengers, attorneys Clyde Vanel and Munir Avery, have already surfaced to unseat Smith.

“I don’t think that he would otherwise have a fair opportunity to present his position to his constituents,” Shargel said.

The lawyer plans to submit a written request to the court Feb. 7, he said.

Meanwhile, another co-defendant in the massive bribery scandal has pleaded guilty.

Joseph Desmaret, the former Spring Valley deputy mayor, confessed to accepting about $10,500 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The 56-year-old pleaded guilty Jan. 29 in White Plains federal court and faces up to 40 years in prison. He is slated for sentencing May 22.

Former Bronx Republican chair Joseph “Jay” Savino pleaded guilty in connection to the case last November.

Other co-defendants, former Queens GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone and Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, say they are innocent.

 

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FAA to look into JFK, LaGuardia flight patterns


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Queens residents fighting feds over airplane noise that turned some suburban neighborhoods into veritable warzones last summer have won a small battle.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to form a committee to review the decision-making process it used last December when the agency approved new flight patterns over the borough.

The new routes adhere to a required three-mile separation between planes arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport and planes taking off from LaGuardia Airport’s runway 13 while using a new, precise navigation system, FAA officials said.

But during a six-month trial period last year, some residents said they suffered from a barrage of low-flying airplanes that soared over their homes every minute of two six-hour stretches a day.

Forming the committee “is a move in the right direction,” said Congressmember Grace Meng.

“Although more still needs to be done, this is a positive move that can hopefully have an effect on the increased airplane noise that Queens residents have been forced to endure,” Meng said.

The FAA said there would be fewer planes flying overhead this summer, but there could be times residents will hear the same turbulence they did last summer and fall.

Meng and Congressmember Steve Israel sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in February asking him to consider the borough’s concerns.

A group of elected officials from Queens met with FAA officials in Washington, D.C. to hash out a plan.

“I hope it results in a more balanced plan that will alleviate the noise pollution for our constituents,” Israel said.

FAA officials agreed during a March town hall meeting to involve the community in future decisions and to continue hearing them out.

 

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Despite relief, plane noise may still plague northeast Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Northeast Queens residents may get a respite from the plane noise that tormented them last summer — but not full relief.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said there would be fewer planes flying over portions of Bayside and Flushing. But, depending on traffic and wind, there could be times residents could hear the same turbulence they heard in summer 2012, officials confirmed.

“What you experienced last summer was an anomaly,” said Carmine Gallo, the FAA’s eastern regional administrator. “The number of airplanes you saw last summer was to collect data. That’s not going to happen this summer.”

A six-month trial period called the “TNNIS Climb” caused a barrage of low-flying airplanes to soar over parts of northeast Queens last summer by the minute each day from 6 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The FAA said the test was to ensure the required three mile separation between John F. Kennedy International Airport arrivals and LaGuardia Runway 13 departures while using a new, precise navigation system.

The procedure was approved last December, but FAA officials said the route would be put to limited use. Air traffic would be spread out between other climbs, they said at a March 14 town hall meeting, where residents and elected officials urged the federal agency to reverse its decision.

“If the route doesn’t go back to the old way, the FAA is in for the fight of its life,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We’re not going to let this affect our quality of life.”

Gallo said the agency’s goal was to ensure the “safe, efficient, secure operation of aircraft.”

He said the FAA makes no profit off airlines or the newly approved procedure, despite accusations by some, including Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.
“We shouldn’t be forced out of our backyards so the airline industry can make more money,” Braunstein said.

Residents also asked if the agency could move routes over waterways and parks instead of residential neighborhoods.

The suggestion “would be nice,” said Ralph Tamburro, the agency’s New York traffic management officer. But it would ultimately be “an impossible task.”

“With the amount of airplanes, you can’t do it,” he said.

The FAA agreed to involve the community in future decisions and to continue hearing them out.

“You’ve caused disruption to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance.

 

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FAA approves controversial airplane route


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File Photo

A controversial airplane route that polluted the skies with noise during its trial run has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The “TNNIS Climb” — in which departing LaGuardia Airport traffic turns left to the north off Runway 13 — has been given the green light for takeoff, FAA officials said, even after borough leaders and residents said the changes caused a nonstop barrage of low-flying planes to torment their northeast Queens neighborhoods.

“Frankly, it is a disgrace the FAA has decided to go ahead with these departure changes, which will have a profound effect on the residents in northeastern Queens, without the proper input from the community,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “In this case, the FAA has decided to disregard the voice of the people.”

Borough Board members lambasted FAA officials in September, when they said they were not given notice about the six-month trial period that concluded in August.

The test was to ensure the required separation between John F. Kennedy International Airport arrivals and LaGuardia Runway 13 departures while using a new, precise navigation system called “RNAV,” said Ralph Tamburro, the agency’s New York traffic management officer.

Local leaders and residents said the FAA ignored public comment when it made the route permanent at the end of November.

“If they choose to make this permanent, that means I’ll have to move,” said Flushing resident Priscilla Tai. “I can’t survive with this. I need to work and I need quality sleep.”

An air traffic official said the FAA is “working to determine the best way to implement the use of this procedure with these other runway configurations.”

“Our primary mission is to endure the safe and efficient use of our nation’s navigable airspace,” said Elizabeth Ray, vice president of Mission Support Services, in a November letter. “Despite our best attempts, we acknowledge it is impossible to reduce noise levels in every area.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

Looks like Queens needs a boroughwide civics class. More than one-third, or 35 percent, of Queens residents ignore their jury-duty notices — the highest in the five boroughs. “We’re dealing with thousands of people, and we just don’t have the staff,” said Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who acts as the commissioner of jurors. In fact, Pheffer, a former assemblywoman, said the office stopped bothering to impose fines as it upgrades its jury-selection system. Read More: New York Post

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

A Queens deli was destroyed by an overnight fire — and an explosion at the store could be felt two blocks away. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Avenue and 220th Street. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray the building, as the fire was too strong to fight from the inside. The business, Deli Grocery & Grill, is relatively new — only about two months old. No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on the cause of the fire. Read More: New York Post

 

Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

A jury could start deliberations as early as Monday in the case of a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up the city’s subways. Adis Medunjanin is accused of conspiring with admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi to detonate suicide bombs on Manhattan subway lines in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted on conspiracy and terror charges. Read More: NY1

 

Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

Hundreds of applicants vying for a job with the ironworkers’ union waited outside the union’s office in Woodside, Queens for nearly a week, leaving some neighbors upset about the camp-out. Read More: NY1

Historic Forest Park Greenhouse gets $3.8 million upgrade, replacing century-old structures with high-tech ones

The historic Forest Park Greenhouse, which grows plants and flowers that liven up concrete stretches in Queens and Brooklyn, is moving beyond its early 20th century roots. A section of the greenhouse has just undergone a $3.8 million reconstruction that will increase its capacity and make it more environmentally-friendly. The first stage of the renovation focused on two of the houses that were built in 1905 and designed by greenhouse experts of the time, Lord and Burnham. Read More: Daily News

 

1 WTC to vault past Empire State Building today and become tallest tower in city

ONE WORLD Trade Center is set to eclipse the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest building Monday afternoon, officials said. As long as the weather cooperates, the tower will surpass the 1,250-foot Empire State Building at 2 p.m. on its way to a final height of 1,776 feet. “It’s wonderful,” Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday. “It’s taken a long time. This is probably the most complex construction site in any place ever. I think what we’ve shown is that democracy works.” Read More: Daily News

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jailed Queens man who says he didn’t commit murder wins retrial

A Queens man who spent eight of his 38 years in jail for a murder he says he didn’t commit won a retrial Wednesday. Tejpal Singh’s murder conviction was set aside by Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise after two key witnesses recanted their claim that he gunned down 19-year-old Kamaljit Singh in 1996. During five weeks of hearings Tejpal’s attorney, Stephen Murphy, grilled Ramjit “Rocky” Singh, who claimed at Tejpal’s trial that he was the drive-by shooter. Read More: New York Post

 

Former Yankees pitcher Pavano victim of extortion attempt, family says

Former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano was the victim of an extortion attempt in which a former classmate tried to get money and an SUV from the right-hander by threatening to reveal information about his personal life, Pavano’s family claims. Read More: New York Post

 

300-pound hero flight passenger said he had no choice when he took down crazy captain

David Gonzalez boarded a plane to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning and managed to do something that very, very few people have ever done. Gonzalez put the pilot in a choke hold while the aircraft was in midair. But Gonzalez, of Henryville, Pa., said he had no other choice. The pilot was acting so erratically that the plane’s crew asked for passengers’ help to subdue him, the Pocono Record reported Thursday. Gonzalez, a former New York City corrections officer, reflected on his experience aboard JetBlue Flight 191. He said he was happy no one got hurt and that he was trying to deal as best he could with being thrust overnight into the national media spotlight. Read More: New York Post

 

Off-duty cop driving wrong way killed in fiery crash in Bronx

An off-duty Mount Vernon cop, driving the wrong way on the New England Thruway, was killed in a fiery crash when he slammed head-on into a tractor-trailer in the Bronx early this morning, authorities said. Reginald Velez, 29, was driving south in the northbound center lane in his Lexus sedan near exit 11 when he plowed into the rig at about 2:35 a.m., officials said. The Lexus immediately burst into flames. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop accidentally shoots woman during Brooklyn drug raid, sources say

A police officer accidentally discharged his weapon during a drug raid in Brooklyn and struck a woman – leaving her in critical condition, police sources said. Brooklyn South Narcotics officers were searching a third floor apartment in a building on Clarendon Road near Nostrand Avenue when an officer’s gun accidentally went off and shot through the floor, striking a 25-year-old woman in the residence below. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-club owner turns down no-jail plea for Manhattan bar brawl with Prince of Monaco

Royal jaw-buster Adam Hock turned down a no-jail plea in a Manhattan courtroom today — insisting he’ll go to trial to prove he was the victim of “international bar brawlers” in his flashy February fight with the Prince of Monaco. “We have information that these four individuals are known bar brawlers,” Hock’s new lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, insisted after a brief court appearance today, referring to Prince Pierre Casiraghi and the three royal pals Hock is charged with also decking. Read More: New York Post

 

Jamaica Dumping Ground Gets A Clean Sweep

The fence and graffiti are still there, but at least one problem is gone — the mounds of trash that filled this illegal dumping site along the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica, Queens. On Wednesday, sanitation workers spent nearly six hours cleaning the well-known dumping ground after NY1 called them about the problem. “It was sick to look at, you know,” said resident Mo Ali. “It’s like our place, you know. It’s getting back to normal.” Read More: NY1

 

Two Hospitalized Following Van Wyck Service Road Accident

Several people were injured Wednesday in a three car pile-up on the Van Wyck service road in South Jamaica, Queens. The accident happened near Linden Boulevard around noon Wednesday. Firefighters used the “jaws of life” to remove one of the passengers, as the rear of the car hung on a bent street sign. One witness said the driver was unresponsive with his foot still on the pedal, spinning the car’s wheels. Read More: NY1

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

JFK pilot rants: ‘Say your prayers . . . We’re all going down!’

A veteran JetBlue pilot terrorized a flight from JFK to Las Vegas yesterday and had to be subdued by passengers who tied him up with their own belts as he ranted about al Qaeda and bombs. “Say your prayers . . . We’re all going down!” wild-eyed Capt. Clayton Osbon screamed to frightened travelers, who couldn’t believe the man who had been flying their Airbus A320 had suddenly turned into a raving lunatic. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop sex fiend found guilty

The drunken, off-duty cop who pulled his service weapon on a school teacher in a horrific, random sex attack in upper Manhattan is facing life in prison after a jury found him guilty yesterday of three counts of predatory sexual assault.Michael Pena also was convicted of sexually violating the young woman — a stranger who had been en route to her first day working as a second-grade teacher when the boozed-up cop pulled her into an Inwood back yard and told her he’d shoot her in the face if she screamed or opened her eyes. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Being a dad’ doesn’t have to be so risky

Joba Chamberlain knows there is a lesson to be learned here, but it’s not about changing and trying to play it safe and be something you are not as a person, a pitcher or most importantly, a father. Asked last night the lesson learned from his terrible trampoline accident Thursday, which produced a grotesque right ankle/foot injury as Chamberlain was on an outing with his 5-year-old son Karter, the Yankees right-hander answered: “I will never question being a father.” Read More: New York Post

 

Slain teen’s parents tell Congress: Trayvon was your son, too
The grieving parents of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin took their emotional pleas for justice to Capitol Hill yesterday, earning a dignified round of applause from lawmakers and hundreds of spectators. “Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon was your son,” Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, told a congressional panel, organized by the House Judiciary Committee, on racial profiling and controversial “stand your ground” laws. Read More: New York Post

 

Hit on cop shocked killer

A coldblooded killer told in chilling detail yesterday how he and another mob hit man calmly walked up to an NYPD officer — marked for death because he’d married a Mafia bigwig’s ex-wife — and gunned him down outside his Brooklyn house nearly 15 years ago. “What’s up?” housing cop Ralph Dols asked the two men as they approached him on Aug. 25, 1997, one of the killers, mob rat Dino “Big Dino” Calabro, told rapt jurors in Brooklyn federal court yesterday. Read More: New York Post

‘Window’ mom put up a fight

The brave Queens mother who was thrown out of her apartment window by a pair of thugs valiantly tried to fight off the perps in a bid to protect her children, one of her daughters revealed yesterday. Amalia Vargas was sweeping the steps outside her Hollis home Monday when the two bandits, claiming to be plumbers, pushed her inside her 202nd Street home and pulled her by her hair to her second-floor apartment. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s crapshoot

Embattled Comptroller John Liu told key supporters that he definitely won’t seek re-election next year to remain the city’s chief financial officer, sources said. But Liu kept the door ajar for a long-shot mayoral run, despite a federal probe of his campaign fund-raising operation, which has damaged his political standing. “I’m going big — or I’m going home,” Liu told top allies, according to sources privy to the conversations. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Queens super guilty on terror rap

A former Queens building super faces 75 years in jail after being convicted yesterday of plotting to sell weapons to Hezbollah terrorists. Patrick Nayyar, 48, showed no emotion as jurors found him guilty on all counts after about two hours of deliberations in Manhattan federal court. Court-appointed defense lawyer Sam Talkin said he was “disappointed” with the verdict and said Nayyar would appeal. Read More: New York Post

Person In Police Custody In Connection With Fatal Subway Brawl

Police said Tuesday they have someone in custody in connection with a fight last week at a Brooklyn subway station that left another man dead. By late Tuesday, no arrests had been made, and police had not released the name of the suspect. Joshua Basin, 20, got into a fight with a drunken man on Friday night. The two fought at the L train stop at Bedford Avenue and both men wound up falling on the tracks. Read More: NY1

 

Priest sits beside Tommy Gioeli’s wife Maureen during racketeering and murder trial of Colombo gangsters

The Colombo boss’s family priest appears to have taken a vow of silence. Meet “Father Peter,” possibly the only man of the cloth who clams up when asked his name. Over the past week, he has made on-and-off appearances at the racketeering and murder trial of gangsters Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli and Dino (Little Dino) Saracino. When he attends, Father Peter sits in the front row next to Gioeli’s wife, Maureen, giving jurors a clear view of his black suit and priest collar. Read More: Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/24/2011: 2-month old baby abandoned on Queens street


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

2-month old baby abandoned on Queens street

Police say a 21-year-old mother is facing charges after authorities found her 2-month-old baby in a stroller on a Queens street. Authorities got a call about an infant crying shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday. They responded to 111th Avenue and found the boy, wrapped in a coat and blanket. He was taken to the hospital, where he was in stable condition. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Queens Sex Assault Suspect Caught On Surveillance Video

The NYPD released surveillance video of a suspect linked to five sexual assaults in Queens. The up-close image may provide the best shot at catching him. Queens South officers were out in force Saturday night, handing out flyers and warning residents of a sexual predator on the loose in Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, and Queens Village. Read More: CBS News

 

Family of slain groom Sean Bell attend first trial proceedings

Sean Bell’s family is expected at Police Headquarters Monday for the latest chapter in the explosive case: the first departmental trial for the cops involved in shooting him dead outside a strip club on his wedding day. Bell was killed on Nov. 25, 2006, in a barrage of 50 bullets that five cops fired into the car he was driving outside Club Kalua in Queens. The officers were under the mistaken impression that Bell, or one of his two passengers, had a gun. They began firing just after Bell struck one of the cops with his car. Read More: Daily News

 

Toy Gun Muggers Attack Real-Gun Officer

Four men tried to rob an off-duty police detective with a toy gun in New York City on Saturday, then scattered when he pulled a real weapon and started shooting. The detective was walking his dog in Queens at about 6:20pm Saturday evening when the four muggers walked up to him, held out the realistic-looking gun and tried to rob the cop, even after he identified himself, police said. The detective fired an unknown number of times, hitting one of the would-be robbers in the arm and chin and another in the foot. Read More: Fox News

 

Long Island City artist blending art and photography

Far away from the static realm of everyday photography lies the work of Rafael Octavio Gonzalez. The Long Island City-bred artist puts a luminescent spin on the lens – surrounding the viewer and bringing the past and present together in one intimate, yet all-encompassing, image. His images are currently being presented in an ongoing exhibition at Z Hotel in L.I.C. – steps away from where the artist grew up and developed his photographer’s sensibility. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens’ Morning Roundup: 10/19/2011 – Robbers get tips from ‘The Town’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up
Queens Robbers get tips from ‘The Town’

Police say a prolific burglary crew in New York City took cues from the bank heist drama “The Town.” Police say the burglars splashed bleach on ATMs and cash drawers to try to destroy DNA evidence. An NYPD spokesperson said Tuesday that the suspects told detectives they’d watched the bad guys in the Ben Affleck-directed film do the same thing. The real bandits are suspected in 62 burglaries at delis, discount stores and pizzerias in Brooklyn and Queens. Police say they made off with $217,000. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

 

Mayor Bloomberg targeted in trial’s closing arguments

An attorney for the Queens political operative accused of stealing $1.1 million from Mayor Michael Bloomberg called New York City’s billionaire chief executive arrogant and duplicitous during closing arguments Tuesday. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

 

China’s first lady visits Forest Hills Library

The first lady of the Republic of China, Madame Ma Chow Mei-Ching, visited the library, located at 108-19 71st Avenue, to present a donation of 10 children’s picture books. The books, which are written in Chinese, were contributed with the purpose of encouraging young Americans to learn more about the traditions of China. Read More: Queens Courier

 

 

Network with the ‘movers and shakers’ at Kings of Queens

Don’t delay. Get your tickets for the 4th Annual Kings of Queens Awards & Networking Event. The event – which recognizes Queens’ most influential men in business – will take place Thursday, November 3 at 8:30 a.m. at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It will feature a morning of networking with top professionals and an expo with the area’s leading businesses. Read More: Queens Courier  Get Your Tickets: Kings of Queens

 

 

Police question possible suspect in Queens sexual assault

Police said on Tuesday they were talking to a possible suspect in connection with a number of attempted sexual assaults in Queens. Five women and a 12-year-old girl have been groped in Sunnyside and Woodside since mid-September by a man who rides up on a bicycle. The latest attack happened Sunday night in Laurelton. Read More: NY1