By Shmarya Rosenberg (Failed Messiah blog)
April 11, 2014
Last year, the Forward published two extremely brief excerpts totaling only 106 seconds out of what it characterized as 80 minutes of tape recordings of Sam Kellner, who then still stood accused of extorting an accused pedophile, Baruch Lebovits and Lebovits' family.
All charges were dropped against Kellner last month because they were, as Hella Winston in the Jewish Week and Michael Powell in the New York Times both reported long before they were dropped, (and I paraphrase) complete BS.
Pretty much all of the evidence against Kellner came from the Lebovits family and Baruch Lebovits' attorneys, Arthur Aidala and Alan and Nathan Dershowitz, and pretty much all of that evidence turned out to be not credible or corrupted.
The Forward's tapes of Kellner purport to show Sam Kellner telling someone how to bribe the DA to get a convicted but not yet sentenced pedophile set free.
But of the hours of "secretly recorded" tape given to the Forward by "Lebovits’s family and by his legal team," Kellner was permitted to hear only a tiny amount, not much more than 106 seconds we were allowed to hear when the Forward posted those 106 seconds on its website.
But a close listen to the those two brief recordings totaling 106 seconds (out of what the Forward characterizes as an 80 minute conversation) finds a snippet of speech in the first recording that seems to show that the tape was not recorded when and completely with whom the Forward claimed (emphasis added):
“You cannot get askunim (communal leaders) together because the askunim, everyone has a different mind. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a task. The first thing that you’ve got to get is you’ve got to get a couple of the rabbunim from Boro Park. They should put a squeeze on the D.A. because the D.A. is a politician… is a politician. He needs votes. The same as you need air to breath, he needs votes. Without votes he’s going back home. So he never fights a community because he always [inaud]… by you he fighted one person. You’ve got to make it into a much bigger fight. Hey, you took a Jewish man, you railroaded him into a deal, … and we won’t forget it. You’re up for election. The only. Any kind of connection that the rabbunim have and every kind of pull is just because they have the votes and he needs them. So, if you’re not mixing people with votes, you are not getting nowhere.”
The recording appears to be discussing the case of Martin Vegh, who pleaded guilty in 2008 – when Brooklyn's DA Charles J. Hynes was not up for re-election.
Hynes was up for re-election in 2009 and ran unopposed.
Vegh has been in prison since November 24, 2008. His earliest release date is September 18, 2014.
So the conversation with Vegh's wife had to take place in the summer of 2008, and the mention of the election is either an error by Kellner or something far more serious – a snippet of a conversation held years later and spliced into the Vegh tape.
There is also evidence the recordings, made while Kellner sat in his van, may have been made in part with a recording device illegally hidden inside Kellner's van – presumably by operatives working for the Lebovits family or for Baruch Lebovits' attorneys.
I point all this out now because Kellner is, I'm told, seriously considering suing the Forward now that the charges against Kellner have been dropped due to the lack of any credible evidence against him.
The world now knows that frontline prosecutors tried to drop the charges against Kellner months ago for the same reason but were overruled for what appear to be political reasons by Hynes and his disgraced rackets bureau chief Michael Vecchione.
The world also now knows the 'evidence' against Kellner was BS, and he allegedly wants the world to know that those recordings – and the context in which the Forward placed them – are BS, as well.
The Forward took evidence from the family and attorneys of an accused pedophile and appear to have used it with little vetting while at the same time in a viperine way mischaracterizing and misreporting the case against Kellner and the status of the evidence against Kellner.
In other words, the Forward essentially smeared Kellner, while failing to allow Kellner to listen to the recorded 'evidence' against him the Forward used to effect that smear. And those tapes appear to have been doctored.
So will Kellner sue?
I'm told he wants to.
And if he does, the Forward's endowment may soon become significantly smaller.