Kew Gardens lawyer convicted of bribing a witness in double homicide case

Photo via Getty Images, inset courtesy of the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

A Long Island man who practiced law in Kew Gardens was convicted of conspiring to bribe a witness in a double homicide case.

John Scarpa, Jr., 66, was found guilty of using interstate facilities in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to do the same in connection to the bribery after a four-day trial. He is due to return to court for sentencing on Sept. 18, where he faces up to 10 years in prison.

“The jury saw through Scarpa’s corrupt scheme to help his client avoid responsibility for murder by bribing a witness to give false testimony,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “With today’s verdict, the defendant will now face prison and disbarment for attempting to undermine the criminal justice system and violating the law he was sworn to uphold as an attorney.”

According to trial testimony, in 2015 Scarpa conspired with Charles Gallman to bribe a convicted murderer to testify in support of Scarpa’s client, Reginald Ross, who was charged with the execution-style killings of two men.

The Queens District Attorney’s office obtained court-authorized intercepted communications that revealed that Scarpa and Gallman planned to bribe Luis Cherry to falsely testify at trial that he alone had committed the second of the two murders, and that Ross was innocent.

Scarpa told Cherry that he would help him with his appeal for his own murder conviction, and to spread word in the prison system that Cherry had not informed against Ross. Following a visit to Cherry at the Downstate Correctional Facility, Gallman told Scarpa, “Anything we need, he’s willing.”

Scarpa asked, “So this guy is willing to do whatever?” Gallman replied, “Whatever you need, John. Whatever you need. … I got a bunch of stuff I wrote down that he wants.”

When Scarpa called Cherry as a witness for Ross’ trial, Cherry testified falsely, however the judge still found Ross guilty of both murders.

Gallman pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Travel Act by bribing a witness to testify falsely, and conspiring to make false statements to the Bureau of Prisons in a separate scheme in November 2018. He was sentenced to three years in prison on March 7 of this year.

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