Judge Forces Eisemann Prosecutors to Surrender Additional Evidence They Were Withholding; Schedules Trial

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After shamelessly trying for more than a year to hold back evidence from Rabbi Eisemann’s defense team, Judge Joseph Paone this week ordered that prosecutors turn over the evidence “forthwith” – immediately, without any delay.

The order came after the appellate division last week affirmed that prosecutors had violated the Brady Act by failing to disclose one page of a document numbered page 247 belonging to “Exhibit F,” an audit trail they created before the trial.

Last year, after Judge Paone ordered a new trial based on the withholding of the document, he also commanded them to hand over the full document. But the prosecution, led by Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo, refused. They filed a motion for a stay, and when Paone denied it, the prosecutors appealed the decision to the state’s appellate division, who agreed to allow the prosecutors to hold off until after the appeal played out.

Now, after last week’s stunning appellate win for Rabbi Eisemann, Judge Paone was not willing to wait any longer. In a rumbustious hearing in which he repeated lambasted the prosecution, the judge refused to accept the prosecution’s excuses for keeping the evidence in hiding.

“Put out your case,” the judge pressed the prosecution. “If you can prove the case, show the defense how you can prove the case. Why are you trying to keep this from the defense? What’s in it that would be problematic?”

Prosecutors still tried to shimmy out, saying that they were planning to bring the case to the state’s highest court, the New Jersey Supreme Court. But Judge Paone wasn’t hearing it.

“What’s the likelihood here?” the judge noted skeptically. “I mean, there’s no dissent, so [what’s] the likelihood of them even taking this case? That’s hopeful thinking, wishful [thinking]. The likelihood of the Supreme Court taking this case is not great.”

Despite continued objections from the prosecution, who still wanted to keep the evidence out of the defense’s hands, the judge ordered them to turn over the evidence immediately.

“I am not going to wait for them,” Paone ruled. “You are going to produce the document forthwith. And Mr. Vartan, you give me an order, I’ll sign it. If they want to appeal it to the Appellate Division, they can do that. But I am issuing an order forthwith that the State produce the audit trail.”

Before the end of the day, the order was produced and Judge Paone signed it. Given no legal recourse, the prosecution finally sent over the full 347-page audit trial the following day. However, the copy they sent over was a clean copy, with all their notes and marking removed. In the hearing, Paone had agreed to let them give this over as the start, with the defense having the option to file a motion to compel the unredacted copy if needed.

The defense team is looking over the newly released documents, and additional motions in the case are expected in the coming weeks.

Judge Paone also pressed forward with expediting the scheduling of a new trial, over the objections of the prosecutors who seek to wait until after the Supreme Court considers their case. Paone set the trial for August 1, with a pre-trial conference scheduled for July 5.

Askanim have noted that the coming period, as the new trial looms, is critical, and ask that the tzibbur continue to be mispallel for Osher ben Chana Frumit.



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