Judge tosses Rockland lawyers from case

Attorney Larry Weissmann’s stint as a Rockland County prosecutor has come back to haunt him in private practice.

State Supreme Court Justice Alfred Weiner tossed Weissmann and his law partner William Gerard from a civil suit against Gerald Braithwaite and several other people. Weissmann represented Otis Tankesly and Brock Tankesly in a civil case concerning real estate transactions involving at 12-14 Slinn Ave. in Spring Valley.

The chief reason is that Weissmann took part in a criminal investigation that involved Braithwaite and others while a Rockland assistant district attorney. The investigation involved allegations of bank fraud. No criminal charges resulted.

Elliot Mirsky, representing Emile and Susan Sayegh in the civil action, argued that Weissmann had inside information from his days as a prosecutor. Weissmann interviewed Mirsky’s clients twice as part of the probe. Mirsky’s clients contend Weissmann had possession of non-public information involving them. Mirsky asked the Weiner to disqualify Weissmann and his law firm.

In response, Weissmann told the court in legal papers that the only “confidential governmental information involved a grand jury subpoena issued to several banks.” Weissmann told the court he used none of that information in the civil case.

Weissmann also had the consent of Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, who wrote he had no problems with Weissmann working on behalf of “these victims potential civil claims, separate from the criminal actions.”

Weiner, in a decision dated Tuesday, found that the Weissmann-Gerard law firm “has not taken and maintained effective screening measures regarding Weissmann’s involvement in the instant action. Based upon the foregoing, the law firm of Gerard & Weissman is likewise disqualified as counsel.”

Down load lawcase for Weiner’s decision

Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.