Court rules former Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove is back in legal jeopardy
Nov 22, 2019 12:49 am
Robert Gavin reports for the Times Union that the mid-level Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court's Third Department unanimously ruled Nov. 21 that state Supreme Court Justice Jonathan D. Nichols of Columbia County incorrectly ruled in 2018 that former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office did not have the authority to prosecute former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove for perjury. Nichols "erred in granting defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment,” according to the decision from the appellate court. That means Abelove again faces one count of first-degree perjury and two counts of official misconduct for lying to a grand jury about a 2016 fatal police shooting of unarmed drunken driving suspect Edson Thevenin in Troy. Five days after the police shooting, Abelove put the case before a Rensselaer County grand jury, which cleared Troy police Sgt. Randall French of any criminal wrongdoing. The Columbia County judge originally threw out the case saying the crime of allegedly false statements that Abelove made when he testified before the grand jury investigating him prejudiced the grand jury. Presiding Justice Elizabeth Garry and Justices Robert Mulvey, Michael Lynch, and Eugene "Gus" Devine overturned Nichols' ruling. New York Attorney General Letitia James said, "The grand jury found (Abelove) abused his power and lied under oath in an attempt to sway a grand jury and impede our investigation – actions that are patently unlawful and unethical. We look forward to continuing this case and ensuring that justice is truly served.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.