NEW YORK CITY — A federal grand jury has indicted two top NYPD officials, their businessman friend and the former president of the city’s Correction Officers union on bribery-related charges, officials announced Thursday evening.
The indictment against Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant, Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg, and Norman Seabrook, the ex-correction union leader, contained several additional wire fraud and conspiracy charges along with the bribery charges the quartet were hit with about month ago when they were arrested in separate cases.
If convicted on all counts, they could face decades in prison.
The announcement confirmed a DNAinfo New York exclusive that prosecutors were poised to ask the grand jury to indict the four men.
The feds allege that Reichberg and another businessman, Jona Rechnitz, who was a large donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, spent at least $100,000 to bribe Grant and Harrington with cash, gifts, meals and trips. In return, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claims the businessmen had “cops on call” to do their bidding, including providing police escorts, closing a Lincoln Tunnel lane for a rich friend or sending officers to intervene in business squabbles.
Sources and records show Rechnitz became a cooperating witness for the feds after he was snared in another bribery scheme involving Seabrook, who allegedly received $65,000 in bribes in exchange for funneling $20 million in union pension money to a hedge fund operated by a friend of Rechnitz.
Rechnitz has already pleaded guilty to bribery charges, but has not yet been sentenced pending his cooperation.
Lawyers for the accused say their clients are innocent.
“Allegations that Mr. Grant violated the police code of conduct do not support a conviction of a federal crime,” said John Meringolo, who represents Grant.
“Chief Harrington vigorously maintains his innocence and looks forward to a public airing of these baseless charges before an impartial jury,” said his lawyer, Andrew Weinstein.
“Mr. Reichberg is innocent and we will show that in court,” his attorney Susan Necheles insisted.