Excerpts from a Times story:
A Queens man in prison for murder has filed a motion for a new trial, based on accusations that the judge unfairly helped Queens prosecutors and had an affair with one of them, which tainted his judgment.
The accusations came from the judge's former law clerk in a complaint to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Ms. Memblat claimed that Justice Rios began a sexual relationship in 1996 with a Queens prosecutor, Meryl A. Lutsky. Ms. Memblatt charged that Justice Rios openly flirted with Ms. Lutsky in court and made humorous hints of their affair. In an interview yesterday, she said she became concerned about the relationship for fear that it might adversely affect some defendants' cases. Her complaints to the commission were included in Mr. Johnson's motion, which was filed Tuesday...
The source for the story, Ron Kuby gives defense lawyers a nice lesson on how to swing for the fences in a press conference. Here is the printed account of that interview...
In an interview yesterday, Mr. Kuby said that Ms. Memblatt's complaint indicated that Justice Rios gave the prosecutor in the case "a secret tutorial" on how to convict Mr. Johnson.
"Is it too much to ask that my client get one fair trial without sex or secret coaching?" he said. "If the D.A.'s office knew Justice Rios had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of their prosecutors, the judge had a real motive to maintain good relations with other Queens prosecutors."
Mr. Kuby said that he was confident Mr. Johnson would get a new trial and that it would certainly include "lots of lurid testimony about sex and corruption in the Queens courthouse."