Category Archive 'New York City District Attorney’s Office'

15 Jun 2023

Grand Jury Indicted Daniel Penny

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Daniel Penny and Alvin Bragg

Well, one month ago, I predicted that the Manhattan DA’s Office would read the statute to the Grand Jury thereby deliberately throwing the case, and that the charges against Daniel Penny would be dismissed.

Silly me! I had based my prediction on my own experiences with the same DA’s Office forty years ago this year. Once again, I find that America has changed dramatically in the course of my lifetime and, as always, for the worse.

Back in the 1980s, then as now, NYC was a corrupt democrat party machine-run one-party state. The democrats were liberals then, but they were cynical, corrupt, pragmatic liberals. Today’s democrat party sometime ago surrendered power to commie crazies like Bill de Blasio and professional race-baiters like Alvin Bragg.

The 1980s DA’s Office backed off and threw the case against me by informing the Grand Jury what the law actually says partly, I expect, because it was the right thing to do, but probably more significantly because it had been made clear to them that prosecuting me would bring down on their heads huge amounts of controversy and public criticism.

The 1980s guys were primarily pragmatists. Alvin Bragg is an ideologue whose career is built upon whipping up the emotions of his homies over all sorts of imaginary grievances. He can no more pass up the opportunity to depict that deceased deranged black criminal as a martyred victim than a rat can pass by a piece of cheese sitting on the trigger of a trap.

It is no fun, I can tell you, living with a possible upcoming criminal trial and facing big time legal costs for a defense, while contemplating (even a minority possibility of) conviction and imprisonment.

Happily, Daniel Penny’s Legal Defense Fund on GiveSendGo has, as of right now, amassed $2,883,009, and the law really is on his side. If he really goes to trial, the statute will for sure be read to that jury.

The Laws of New York > Consolidated Laws of New York > CHAPTER 40 Penal > PART 1 > General Provisions > TITLE C > Defenses > ARTICLE 35 Defense of Justification

Justification; use of physical force in making an arrest or in preventing an escape

4. A private person acting on his or her own account may use physical
force, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to
the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to
effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of a person whom
he or she reasonably believes to have committed an offense and who in
fact has committed such offense; and may use deadly physical force for
such purpose when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to:

(a) Defend himself, herself or a third person from what he or she
reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical
force. …

08 Dec 2021

Cy Vance Sends Antiquities Back

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Stag’s Head Rhyton sent to Erdoğan’s regime in Turkey.

The NYT praises NYC District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s latest triumph.

Michael H. Steinhardt, the billionaire hedge fund pioneer and one of New York’s most prolific antiquities collectors, has surrendered 180 stolen objects valued at $70 million and been barred for life from acquiring any other relics, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in a statement Monday.

The prosecutor’s office struck an agreement with Mr. Steinhardt after a four-year multinational investigation that determined that the seized pieces had been looted and smuggled from 11 countries, trafficked by 12 illicit networks and appeared on the international art market without lawful paperwork, the office said. …

Mr. Steinhardt, a Brooklyn native who turns 81 on Tuesday, is a major contributor to New York University and to numerous Jewish philanthropies. There is a Steinhardt conservatory at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and a Steinhardt Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. …

As part of its inquiry, Mr. Vance’s office said, prosecutors executed 17 search warrants and worked with officials in 11 countries — Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Turkey. …

[Returned items] include:

    A ceremonial libations vessel, or rhyton, that depicts a stag’s head, purchased from the Merrin Gallery of Manhattan for $2.6 million in November 1991. Officials said the item, which dates to 400 B.C., first appeared on the international art market without provenance after rampant looting in Milas, Turkey. In March 1993, prosecutors said, Mr. Steinhardt lent it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was when law enforcement officials seized it. It has since been repatriated.
    A larnax, or small chest for human remains, from Crete, that dates between 1400-1200 B.C. Officials said the item, valued at $1 million, was purchased from a known antiquities trafficker and traced to Mr. Steinhardt through a financial institution based in Malta.
    The “Ercolano Fresco,” purchased from Robert Hecht, who had faced accusations of trafficking in antiquities, “with no prior provenance” for $650,000 in November 1995. Dating to 50 B.C. and valued at $1 million, it depicts an infant Hercules strangling a snake sent by Hera to slay him. The fresco was looted in 1995 from a Roman villa in the ruins of Herculaneum, near Naples, officials said.
    A gold bowl looted from Nimrud, Iraq, and purchased without provenance papers, officials said, for $150,000 in July 2020, at a time when objects from Nimrud were being trafficked by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. …
    Three stone death masks that appeared to be encrusted with soil in photographs recovered by the Israeli authorities. They date to 6000 B.C. and were purchased by Mr. Steinhardt for $400,000 in October 2007.

Prosecutors said Mr. Steinhardt had owned and traded more than 1,000 antiquities since 1987, and his art collection was valued at about $200 million.



It’s obviously vital and morally obligatory to take antiquities out of the Metropolitan Museum in New York (where they were on loan) and return them to places like Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.

After all, who could possibly argue that the contemporary corrupt and barbarous regimes ruling over the descendants of peoples who invaded and replaced the much earlier peoples who created certain precious objects of art are not 100% entitled to ownership of all objects lost centuries and millennia ago and found and recovered by somebody else?

And why should the Manhattan D.A.’s Office waste its time prosecuting Smash-and-Grab robberies of Manhattan luxury stores, for instance, when it can devote the same time to sending back tens of millions of dollars worth of art to banana republic governments in the Mediterranean and the Middle East?

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