NYPD lawyer falsified emails, lied to courts and withheld information from lawsuit plaintiffs

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The NYPD has long been a staunch opponent of transparency and accountability. It spent years trying to rebrand itself as a national security agency, taking inspiration from former mayor Rudy Giuliani. undeserved reputation as a savior after 9/11 from New York.

Journalists have noted that the NYPD is even more secretive than the CIA and NSA, two agencies whose secrets have only been revealed by leakers. Even his own oversight cannot break that extremely thick blue line that separates the NYPD from everyone else. And his own union said the public deserved the silence and opacity it enjoys because without it New York would become a hell overseen by the criminal element.

Rick Pinto, writing for Hell Gate, says at least one member of the thin blue line between transparency, accountability and (apparently) compliance with court orders was (finally) fired by the New York legal department.

Last week, in an effort to avoid punishment for failing to provide evidence, Dara Weiss, the NYPD’s lead attorney in the cases, was found guilty of lying to the federal judge and falsifying several documents, simulating fake copies of an email she claimed to send, but never did.

Weiss, an 18-year veteran of the New York City Legal Department, which represents New York City and its agencies in lawsuits, was fired Friday, according to court documents.

One less, but oh so much to do. Dara Weiss managed to become an inescapable target for deportation by brazenly defying court orders and, in the case examined by Pinto, forging emails in an attempt to claim that she had indeed complied with a Justice decision.

The dismissal follows months of misconduct by the New York Legal Department attorney. She had been disciplined five times in recent months by New York courts for refusing to provide evidence and information requested by plaintiffs in civil rights lawsuits against the NYPD.

The straw that broke the camel’s back appears to have been an email forged by Weiss in response to discovery requests targeting communications sent in response to racist tweets by former Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins. Weiss was ordered to turn over this information by March 3 by Judge Gabriel Gorenstein. Instead of passing on this information, Weiss apparently chose to falsify an email showing that she had already shared it with the plaintiffs.

Gorenstein threatened the NYPD and its lawyers with sanctions for ignoring this order. Weiss tried to avoid this by sending a letter to the judge on April 26, saying she had sent the information to the plaintiffs. As evidence, she offered a PDF screenshot of an email she claimed to have sent to plaintiffs disclosing the information the court had ordered her to turn over.

What she failed to do was provide the original email, which the plaintiffs claimed they never received.

This puzzled the dozens of plaintiffs’ attorneys to whom Weiss claimed to have emailed — none of them had received it. That day, Rickner pressed Weiss in emails for evidence that she had indeed offered to meet. The next morning, April 27, she responded by sending them a PDF file which she claimed was a copy of the email. Presumably confused as to why Weiss would send a PDF as evidence that she had sent an email, plaintiffs’ attorneys responded, asking her to “forward the actual email, as an attachment, so that it has the metadata intact”.

Weiss responded that afternoon, this time including what she claimed was the text of the email, but not as an attachment with the original metadata. But there were particular discrepancies between that email text and the PDF Weiss said he generated from the email, according to a letter Rickner later wrote to the court. For one, an email address was misspelled in the PDF, but appeared correctly in the second email.

The plaintiffs’ forensic expert urged Weiss to obtain the original email in order to review the metadata. Weiss then claimed he forgot to send the original email, which was why the plaintiffs hadn’t seen it. She called it a “mistake” but still refused to hand over copies of the draft email so the metadata could be reviewed.

The forensic expert came to this conclusion:

“To say that the email had been sent, when it had not, was certainly no accident.”

If this analysis is correct (and there is no indication that it is not), Weiss not only lied to the attorneys representing those suing the NYPD, but also lied in federal court itself. After the New York Legal Department’s request to meet with the judge privately to discuss the matter was denied by the court, the Legal Department did the next best thing: fired the lying attorney.

“This Office takes this matter very seriously and does not condone such conduct under any circumstances,” Miller wrote. “As a result, the employment of this lawyer has been terminated. We sincerely apologize to the Court and to all parties for the inconvenience caused.”

This ends Weiss’ 18-year career with the New York Legal Department, during which she handled more than 80 civil rights cases involving the NYPD. But that’s not his only misconduct. As mentioned above, she has been repeatedly sanctioned by the courts, including being disciplined and fined for concealing documents from a plaintiff who was beaten while detained at Rikers Island.

The good news is that the NYPD has one less liar representing its core liars. The downside is that the New York City Legal Department considers this termination to be the end of the line. He apparently has no interest in examining Weiss’ past efforts to see how often she ignored court orders, withheld information from plaintiffs or abused her position to give some of the most powerful people a boost. of New York in civil rights litigation.

Like other government agencies, the legal department apparently believes that stepping up to the rescue to do the inevitable after years of apparent wrongdoing is a form of liability. This is really not the case. It’s nothing more than doing the right thing because doing the wrong thing is no longer an option.

Filed Under: dara weiss, fake email, nyc legal department, nypd, transparency

Jon J. Epps