Since these lawsuits provide unique information about this public servant, I am sure, the public will be interested to see these materials.
I already blogged today about the lawsuit against DiFiore's alleged participation in corruption and voter fraud in connection with her elections for her position as the Westchester County DA, which she used to protect or, alternatively, target different individuals, and used as a stepping stone to her current position.
The voter fraud lawsuit involved statements that the plaintiff, Giulio Cavallo, after DiFiore's threats and threats by Senator D'Amato on her behalf, stopped publishing in local newspaper, "The Guardian". Cavallo's lawsuit also alleged that DiFiore claimed that "The Guardian"'s owner is part of Albanian organized crime and that she will "fix him" when the time comes - the desire to "fix" him came "coincidentally" after his newspaper published an article exposing her corruption.
"The Guardian"'s owner's lawsuit gives more insight into DiFiore's threats.
Here are the parties to the lawsuit:
In 2007 "The Westchester Guardian" committed the ultimate faux pas: it criticized several powerful public officials, including DiFiore and DiFiore's current predecessor (once removed, Jonathan Lippman "served" after Kaye) in her present position, the NY Chief Court Judge Judith Kaye:
Of course, criticizing Judith Kaye was a death wish, because:
1) Chief Judge Kaye was very sensitive to criticism. In fact, Chief Judge Kaye was so sensitive to criticism of judges and of herself and "her" court that in 1997, shortly after conviction and incarceration in federal prison of the previous Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, friend of Chief Judge Kaye
(Kaye, according to his book "After the Madness", wrote consoling notes to Wachtler and had Bellacosa deliver them to Wachtler in prison),
Kaye published two "law review articles", citing one another, together with Wachtler's other longtime friend Joe Bellacosa
(who also wrote to Wachtler in prison that Bellacosa read a sermon to a group of parishioners about those who condemned Jesus Christ as a prisoner and thus should go to hell).
Those two law review articles, under the guise of some elaborate language tried to bash criticism and lawyer-critics of judges, I blogged about Bellacosa's article here, and here is Kaye's article where she calls judicial independence a "crown jewel" and asks the "legal community" to protect that "crown jewel" from criticism.
2) In 2007, when the publication was made, Kaye's felon friend Sol Wachtler was reinstated as an attorney, despite his felony conviction and his history of violence, sexual misconduct with a minor and mental instability, which added a "sensitive issue" to any criticism of Kaye or her surroundings.
Kaye, of course, retired in 2008, when the lawsuit was filed, yet, her connections and influence remained alive.
3) The article criticized DiFiore and her husband Dennis Glazer and made allegations of election fraud and corruption against both of them:
The lawsuit indicates that Kaye read the article criticizing her and for some reason shared her "concerns" about the criticism with DiFiore, a mere County DA.
DiFiore, in her position as a County DA of the County where the newspaper was located, and especially with her husband who was wealthy and well connected, had pressure powers of her own.
And DiFiore, according to the lawsuit, did not miss the chance used her power to intimidate the newspaper.
Here is the "offending" article by Richard Blassberg:
And here is the article in larger font:
"Last Monday afternoon, New York State’s Chief Judge, Judith Kaye appeared on National Public Radio’s Brian Lehrer Show. Mr. Lehrer, not generally known to be unprepared with subject matter, squandered an excellent opportunity to bring some meaningful dialogue regarding New York State’s failing court system to his listeners, unless, of course, it was his intention to give the Judge a ‘PR Freebee.’
For openers, his willingness to permit the Chief Judge of the State, while making reference to the enormous number of pro se litigants in the Matrimonial Part of Supreme Court, to get away with, saying, “I never understand those Latin phrases,” as she was uncertain whether she meant to say pro se, or pro bono, without some expression of surprise, was both scary and disappointing. Her admission was scary, and his failure to recognize and pursue her ineptness was most disappointing. Lehrer’s ‘marshmallow treatment’ of her was reminiscent of Archie Bunker addressing his letter to Richard Nixon with “Dear Mister President, Your Honor, Sir:”
It was evident from the outset that Judith Kaye was not prepared to have a meaningful discussion of the dreadful condition of New York State’s Unified Court System, and Brian Lehrer was either unwilling, or unprepared, to hold her feet to the fire. Shame on them both! To listen to her reassurances one has to wonder where she has been for the last 14 years? Clearly, former Governor Cuomo’s decision to appoint Kaye, a woman with no prior judicial credentials, whose legal career had been spent in corporate law, was a badly failed experiment.
Kaye’s remarks, intended to convey the impression that the judiciary, particularly the Matrimonial and Criminal Parts of Supreme Court, are in essentially good shape could not be further from the truth, as many Westchester residents are well aware. It is common knowledge that numerous Supreme Court Justices purchased their nominations through political power-brokers. One such case recently exposed in Brooklyn, involved a complaint by a judge’s wife that she paid $200,000 to secure his nomination.
Here in Westchester, The Guardian has been exposing for several months the role of Giulio Cavallo, Larry Schwartz, and others, in the sale of judicial nominations, for as much as $15,000, and more. And, of course, the practice is not limited to judges. It’s well known in political circles that Giulio Cavallo is furious with DA Janet DiFiore’s spouse, attorney Dennis Glazer, for reneging on his promise to pay Cavallo $30,000 for the Independence Party’s cross-endorsement of Janet for DA against Tony Castro in 2005.
One wonders how Kaye can accept the fact that her Chief Administrative Judge, Jonathan Lippman, a Democrat, to ensure his election to State Supreme Court, a 14-year position, schemed with then-Westchester County Court Judge Joseph Alessandro, who had been found “Unqualified,” by the State Commission on Judicial Credentials, to cross-endorse each other, thus underhandedly guaranteeing their election two years ago? Judge Alessandro, when last seen in Westchester, was the subject of a suit by Barbara Battista, his former campaign treasurer, for having allegedly defrauded her out of more than $250,000.
Judge Kaye certainly cannot deny knowledge of the shameless enterprise that has been flourishing on her watch in the Matrimonial Part of Westchester Supreme Court, involving certain judges and matrimonial attorneys, and law guardians. The complaints were so numerous, many litigants having gone to federal authorities, that Kaye was compelled, in June of last year, to instruct Judge Francis Nicolai to remove the four sitting judges in the Matrimonial Part, and replace them with others, the so-called “Historic Rotation.” No, Judge Kaye, despite her remarks to Brian Lehrer, to the contrary, is only too well aware of the scandalous scheme by which the ‘monied spouse’ in divorce after divorce, invariably gets control of the marital assets, and custody of the children, by employing the services of the unscrupulous clique of lawyers, law guardians, and mental health professionals, who use Temporary Orders of Protection, perjury, and outright fraud to achieve control.
Too many of the easy questions put to Kaye by Lehrer were answered with expressions such as ”I hope that.” She would prefer to appear unknowing, rather than engage in open discussion of the serious day-today realities citizens encounter in our State Courts. Her responses to questions regarding Family Court were most discouraging in light of what has been happening to Jing Kelly and her infant son Tristram for more than four years at the hands of New York County Family Court Judge Sara P. Schechter. Listening to Kaye’s uninformed responses, it is little wonder that a bigoted creature like Schechter has been able to keep this ChineseAmerican mother and her six-year-old son apart for four years, in total defiance of both the order and mandamus of the Appellate Division, First Department.
It doesn’t do the People of New York State one bit of good to have a politician the like of Judith Kaye as our Chief Judge. It’s one thing not to know pro se from pro bono, but it’s quite another to be totally out of touch with what is going on in our courts. And, furthermore, to speak in meaningless and irrelevant terms simply serves to further undermine public confidence in our judicial system. Worse yet, we must continue to labor under her lack of initiative and leadership for two more years thanks to Governor Spitzer’s reappointment of her."
Yikes, that stings. For a top judge of a large state that sets itself as a "trailblaizer of human rights" to not know the difference between Pro Se and Pro Bono, and that being the least of her lapses in knowledge is kind of ... humiliating. But well deserved.
The article also described DiFiore's and her husband's alleged corruption to elect her as DA:
DiFiore could not let that stand, of course.
So, what did she do?
Let's go to the lawsuit by Selim Zherka, the owner of The Westchester Guardian.
DiFiore, likely, asked Zherka to call her on her cell phone to avoid a lawsuit for acting in her capacity as a DA. I wonder if now-Chief Judge DiFiore kept her cell phone number mentioned in the lawsuit, 914-224-7238?
DiFiore, the District Attorney of a large county, is calling the press, uses four-letter language, calls publications stupid and demands that the owner of the newspaper to call her on her cell phone.
Looks like an abuse of power and a command to me by a DA, doesn't it?
But, let's go further.
Selim Zherka obeyed DiFIore's command and reportedly called her on her cell phone.
Look at the wonderful conversation between the District Attorney of a county where:
- DiFiore lives;
- Governor Andrew Cuomo lives, and
- Former President Bill Clinton and his wife State Senator, then State Secretary and now former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lives:
- Stephen Breyer;
- Anthony Kennedy;
- Ruth Ginsburg;
- the late Antonin Scalia;
- Clarence Thomas;
- David Souter (retired in 2009);
- Chief Judge Roberts.
- "fucken hate[s]" the critic,
- threatens that the journalist who has written an article critical of her and her husband "will get [the owner of the newspaper] into a lot of trouble, is "going to cause a lot of problems" for the owner of the newspaper,
- claims that "no one in this county likes him", obviously by "no one" meaning "no one that matters", the politically connected people, including, very likely, Governor Cuomo and the Clintons, and,
- ta-da, the apotheosis of stupidity - DiFiore demanded that the owner of the newspaper should fire the journalist and "find another writer".