By Sadef Ali Kully
A Brooklyn federal judge in a decision handed down Sept. 11 upheld the conviction of Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova and a co-conspirator, both of whom were found guilty of plotting the 2007 murder of Borukhova’s estranged husband, Dr. Daniel Malakov.
The 2009 five-week jury trial of the two defendants split the Orthodox Bukharian Jewish community in Forest Hills as it unfolded. At the end, Borukhova, 41, and her husband’s cousin, Mikhail Mallayev, 58, were convicted of murder and conspiracy. Mallayev was also convicted of criminal possession of a weapon. Both were sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In 2014, Borukhova’s attorney, Andrew Citron, filed a petition for habeas corpus stating she had been denied her federal constitutional rights before, during and after the trial, “court favored the prosecution, undermining the truth-seeking function of a trial.”
But U.S. District Judge John Gleeson rejected all of the claims raised by Borukhova in her federal habeas proceeding. In his decision, he wrote that the findings of the state appellate court affirmed her conviction and determined that any trial errors in the case were harmless and did not deprive the defendant of a fair trial.
According to the 2009 trial testimony, Borukhova and Mallayev exchanged 90 telephone conversations prior to the murder, during which they came to an agreement that Mallayev would kill Borukhova’s estranged husband in exchange for a sum of money.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Mallayev was arrested in November 2007 in the state of Georgia after NYPD detectives matched fingerprints on the makeshift silencer found at the scene to fingerprints taken from Mallayev in 1994 after he was charged in another case. Borukhova was arrested in February 2008 after a grand jury charged both her and Mallayev with the murder of her husband.
“The defendant’s latest effort to overturn her murder conviction has been rightly rejected,” Brown said. “This was a terribly sad case in which the defendant was found to have conspired and carried out a murder-for-hire plot to assassinate her estranged husband in full view of the couple’s then-4-year-old child. Hopefully, this decision will bring a measure of closure to Dr. Malakov’s family.”
According to the trial testimony, Borukhova arranged for her estranged husband to meet her on the morning of Oct. 28, 2007 at Annadale Playground on Yellowstone Boulevard so that he could deliver their daughter for a visit with her. Malakov had won custody of the child after a bitter court battle.
Mallayev used the silencer to shoot Malakov twice in the chest near the location that morning, court records show. After the murder, Borukhova and Mallayev had two more telephone conversations followed by a meeting at Borukhova’s Forest Hills medical office. A couple of weeks later, Mallayev deposited a total of $19,800 into ten different bank accounts.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull