Monday, January 20, 2014

New prosecutor assigned to case of man accused of extorting alleged sex abuser 

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A controversial extortion case will be reviewed by a new prosecutor, the Daily News has learned.
During his election campaign last year, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson had rallied behind Samuel Kellner.

The Hasidic man had spoken out against sex abuse within his Orthodox community, then found himself charged with extorting an alleged abuser and bribing witnesses in the man’s case.

 Thompson, who had slammed the troubled case as “botched” during his campaign, has appointed sex crimes prosecutor Kevin O’Donnell to take a new look at the three-year-old case, sources said.

The decision could affect the case of the man Kellner is accused of trying to extort — Baruch Lebovits, 62, a cantor who’s awaiting a retrial on charges of abusing a boy. Lebovits has a court date scheduled for Thursday.

“He probably wants a fresh pair of eyes to look at this case,” Kellner’s lawyer, Niall MacGiollabhui, said of Thompson.


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