High-priced testimony at grand larceny trial

During trials, defense lawyers often pay expert witnesses to testify when they can offer evidence to counter the prosecution’s claims of guilt.¬†Prosecution witnesses typically don’t get paid.

But today, during the grand larceny trial of Todd Newman, a certified fraud examiner named James Lynch was paid to be on the witness stand at the Westchester County Courthouse. To read today’s article about Lynch’s testimony,¬†click here.

Lynch, a forensic accountant, charged $400 an hour (!!!) to Newman’s former employer, B. Schoenberg & Co., a plastics recycler in Yorktown Heights. That bill will be on top of the $350 an hour he got to investigate Newman’s alleged misdeeds, namely the embezzlement of nearly $2 million while he was company treasurer.

Of course, the defense made a point of bringing up these figures during Lynch’s testimony. I watched jurors’ eyes widen and jaws drop when they heard the numbers. Newman lawyer, Merril Rubin, suggested that Lynch was saying what his sponsors told him to say, but Assistant District Attorney Nicole Gamble, during re-direct, asked Lynch if he was ever coached. Lynch said no.

For the record, Lynch makes as much per hour on the witness stand as I make in 2 days. Makes me wish I had studied harder in math class.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.