By Ivan Pereira
Queens prosecutors struck back last week against the appeal by Alan Dershowitz ï»¿of Mazoltuv Borukhova’s murder conviction.
Assistant District Attorneys Donna Aldea and Gary Fidel submitted a 190-page brief to the New York Court of Appeals that reaffirmed the government’s case against Borukhova, who was sent to prison last year for life for hiring her distant relative to kill her estranged husband Daniel Malakov in a Forest Hills playground nearly three years ago.
The prosecutors contend that their case against the Uzbek physician and her distant cousin, Mikhail Mallayev, was strong and they proved that the pair conspired to kill Malakov so Borukhova could regain custody of her then 4-year-old daughter, Michelle.
“[The] defendant’s current claim that there was ‘no evidence’ of any ‘agreement’ between defendant and Mallayev simply defies reason,” the Sept. 20 brief said.
Nathan Z. Dershowitz, ï»¿brother of the famed O.J. Simpson attorney and member of his legal team, said in his 150-page brief earlier in the year that the prosecutors had no clear evidence proving his client’s guilt and used prejudice and bias against the defense. One of the major points of the appeal was the fact that Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy broke up closing statements between the defense and prosecution over a weekend and allowed the assistant district attorney, Brad Leventhal, two extra days to prepare.
“To overcome deficiencies in proof, the prosecutor needed the jury to view Borukhova as manipulative, uncaring, even irreligious,” Nathan Dershowtiz said in the brief, according to the New York Law Journal.
Alan Dershowitz, who will be appearing on behalf of Borukhova and is leading the appeal, according to the Law Journal, could not be reached for comment.
Malakov, also an Uzbek immigrant, had won custody of Michelle less than a week before he was killed at the Annadale Playground on Oct. 28, 2007. He had agreed with Borukhova to drop the girl off at the playground, but he was shot in the chest when he was approaching the park.
Three weeks later Mallayev was arrested at his own home in suburban Atlanta when police discovered his fingerprints were on a makeshift silencer left at the scene by the shooter. Three months after the shooter was arrested, police charged Borukhova with murder and conspiracy after they found numerous pieces of evidence, including more than 90 phone calls exchanged between the two that tied her to the killing.
The Queens prosecutors said circumstances leading to Malakov’s death showed a clear plot had been concocted.
“[T]he existence of an agreement between defendant and Mallayev was [also] evidenced by the fact that [she] … personally arranged with Daniel to meet at the park, at a specified time; and that her cousin from Georgia, with whom she had just exchanged 91 telephone calls and who had just driven into New York, just happened to be present at that precise time and place, armed with a loaded gun equipped with a makeshift silencer that he had personally made for the express purpose of killing Daniel … a man he barely knew, if at all, and with whom he had no connection except one: [the] defendant,” they wrote in their brief.
The DA’s office declined to comment about the case.
A jury convicted Borukhova and Mallayev in March 2009 and the pair are currently serving life prison sentences. Michelle is living with her paternal relatives who are working on forcing Borukhova to relinquish legal maternal rights.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.