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Is Gallagher copping a plea? – QNS.com

Is Gallagher copping a plea?

Embattled City Councilmember Dennis Gallagher, whose grand jury indictment on charges of rape and assault was thrown out, is reportedly negotiating a plea deal to avoid a possible second grand jury.
Gallagher, 43, is accused of raping a 52-year-old woman he met at a neighborhood bar last July 8, after she accepted a ride in his car.
Although the indictment was thrown out in January after a judge found “that the grand jury proceedings were impaired to such an extent that prejudice to the defendant clearly resulted,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown declared that he would empanel a second grand jury in the case.
Published reports claim that the plea deal drops the rape charges, meaning Gallagher would not have to register as a sex offender. He would reportedly plead to a misdemeanor, and would avoid jail time.
The reported sticking point is the DA’s insistence that Gallagher would have to resign from office.
The reports cite “people familiar with the matter” as sources.
As of Tuesday, March 4, neither Gallagher’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, nor Brown’s office would comment whether a deal was on the table or another attempt to indict Gallagher was imminent.
Brafman has only said that “you can conclude that there are discussions going on,” and that “it would not be appropriate to comment on the status of any negotiations that may or may not be taking place at this time.”
Gallagher testified before the grand jury late last July. While admitting having sex with the woman, he insisted that it was consensual. Both parties reportedly admitted that they had been drinking.
After a four-day presentation, during which prosecutors would not allow jurors to question the judge on the propriety of some of their questions, the grand jury indicted Gallagher on the charges.
In response to Gallagher’s claims that prosecutors abused their power, Brown defended his office. “We handle thousands of grand jury presentations in Queens,” he said at the time. “Each one is fairly and thoroughly presented. The presentation of this case was no different.”
Nevertheless, Justice Sheri Roman of the State Supreme Court threw out the indictment on Thursday, January 24, citing prosecutorial misconduct. However, in her 26-page decision she also observed, “The testimony and evidence presented to the grand jury was legally sufficient to support each and every one of the counts charged.”
Later that day, Brown declared that “the matter will be re-presented to another grand jury,” but as of press time, no action has been taken.

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