Today Marty's lawyers filed two motions in Suffolk County court. The first motion seeks answers to why evidence of Marty's innocence in the hands of the Suffolk County District Attorney has not yet been turned over to Marty's lawyers. The other motion questions whether the Special Prosecutor, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, appointed to replace the conflicted Suffolk County DA, has been using a grand jury that may be influenced by the Suffolk County DA.
The first motion, filed before Suffolk County judge Robert W. Doyle, seeks any exculpatory evidence that may be in the possession of the Special Prosecutor, and cites good reason for believing such evidence exists and should have been made available to Marty by now:
“We base our belief on several examples of instances where the Suffolk County District Attorney received exculpatory information but did not disclose it. For example, in October 2007, Tankleff investigator Jay Salpeter interviewed witnesses Tina Molloy and Dennis Piacente…. During that interview, Ms. Molloy stated that Joseph Creedon had admitted to her his involvement in the Tankleff murders…. She also stated that she had previously voluntarily brought the information to the attention of Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney, Leonard Lato…In fact, in August 2007, Ms. Molloy met with Mr. Lato and investigator Walter Warkenthien…. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office never brought this information to the attention of defense counsel; instead Ms. Molloy contacted Mr. Salpeter with the evidence…. In subsequent news accounts, Mr. Lato stated that his meeting with Ms. Molloy and Mr. Piacente was recorded. To date, those tapes have not been produced to defense counsel. Had the witnesses not contacted the defense directly we may never have learned of their existence. Without the tapes, we may not be able to fully develop their exculpatory information.”
In addition, the defense learned that a sheriff’s informant spoke with Mr. Lato about the case and provided exculpatory information. However, the Special Prosecutor has not responded to defense requests for details about this new evidence.
A separate motion before Suffolk County Judge James C. Hudson seeks to compel the Special Prosecutor, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, to disclose whether he has used a regularly empaneled Suffolk County grand jury in the Tankleff case, and, if he has, to cease. The issue is one of fairness, since the conflicted Suffolk DA and other law enforcement agents would be appearing before the very same grand jury:
“Given the myriad and obvious conflicts of interest within the District Attorney’s office — implicitly recognized by the District Attorney himself in seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor — there is no way to ensure that a grand jury before which the office of the Suffolk County District Attorney is regularly appearing is not being influenced by that office. The integrity of the grand jury process requires that the grand jury investigating this case not be tainted by the conflicted office of the Suffolk County District Attorney."
The motion also seeks to establish that the grand jury is being used properly and not in an impermissible attempt to pursue the twenty-year-old indictments against Marty. Rather, Marty's lawyers seek the Special Prosecutor’s representation that he is using the grand jury for a legitimate purpose, such as pursuing charges against those individuals--including Jerry Steuerman, Joey "Guns" Creedon and Peter Kent--who have been implicated as the murderers of Arlene and Seymour Tankleff.
The motions were filed before different judges because while Judge Doyle is the trial judge, Judge Hudson is the presiding judge who oversees grand jury matters.
Last December, the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, unanimously vacated Marty’s convictions, reversing the Suffolk County court and remanding the case back to Suffolk County. On December 29, 2007, the State Investigation Commission announced it was in the midst of a yearlong investigation into how Suffolk County law enforcement handled the Tankleff case over the years. Four days later, on January 2, 2008, the first business day of the New Year, the Suffolk DA announced he would not re-try the case against Marty and that he would ask the governor to appoint a special prosecutor to reinvestigate the murders. Since then the Special Prosecutor has undertaken its own investigation, which has included the use of a grand jury, while Marty remains under indictment.