Kew Gardens attorney sentenced for conspiring to bribe a witness in a double homicide trial: Feds

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 will spend two and a half years in prison for conspiring to bribe a witness in a double homicide case, according to prosecutors.

After a four-day trial, John Scarpa, Jr., 66, was convicted of using interstate facilities in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to do the same in connection to the bribery in May. He was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment and fined $10,000. Scarpa, who has practiced law in New York since 1982, and was a prosecutor at three district attorneys’ offices in the metropolitan area, will also be disbarred, prosecutors said.

“As a defense attorney and former prosecutor, Scarpa was sworn to uphold the law he so egregiously subverted,” stated United States Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Scarpa went from practicing law to breaking the law and will now pay a price for his crime.”

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

In exchange for the testimony, Scarpa promised Cherry that he would help Cherry appeal his own murder conviction, and to spread word in the prison system that Cherry was not a government informant.

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.”

During Ross’ trial, Cherry falsely testified that he was behind both murders, claiming that Ross was innocent. Despite the false testimony, Ross was convicted of both murders.

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