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DA Now Investigating Prosecutor in Failed Pedro Hernandez Case

By Kate Pastor | October 12, 2017 3:28pm
 Pedro Hernandez emerging from the courtroom after his charges were dismissed in September.
Pedro Hernandez emerging from the courtroom after his charges were dismissed in September.
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DNAinfo/Kate Pastor

CONCOURSE — The Bronx prosecutor who handled the failed gun case against Pedro Hernandez was transferred out of his trial bureau because of an internal probe that includes a review of allegations that he engaged in misconduct, according to the Bronx District Attorney's Office.

ADA David Slott has been moved into the Appeals Bureau, according to court sources.

But Patrice O'Shaughnessy, director of public information for the Bronx DA, cautioned that his transfer, which took place around the time the Hernandez case was dismissed in September, does not signify a demotion and that the investigation is into both the Hernandez case and claims against law enforcement, which includes but is no way limited to Slott.

“He wasn't demoted. He was transferred because of the reviews and the investigation going on,” O'Shaughnessy said.

When Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced she was dropping the case against Hernandez the morning his trial was scheduled to begin, she put out a statement saying that the Public Integrity Bureau and the newly created Professional Responsibility Bureau would investigate.

The Professional Responsibility Bureau includes an Ethics Committee, which considers complaints against assistant district attorneys.

“Everything is under investigation,” O'Shaughnessy said.

The day of the Hernandez dismissal, Slott did not represent the Bronx DA's office in court. Assistant District Attorney Julian Bond O'Connor told the court that his office had moved to dismiss the case because “the victim of this shooting could not identify the assailant" and that “witnesses accounts in this case have ben inconsistent and contradictory.”

He added that one of the original witnesses was no longer cooperative and could not be located after an extensive search.

The case was rife with problems from the start. 

Prior to the dismissal, the DA's office amended the theory of the crime from one in which Hernandez had pulled the trigger in the 2015 shooting to one in which he supplied the gun.

The victim of the shooting had also claimed that he was pressured by Det. David Terrell into identifying Hernandez as the shooter even though he did not see his assailant.

Slott was also named as a defendant in multiple notices of intent to sue the city, alleging that the ADA participated in coercing the complainants to lie as witnesses in criminal case — some involving Hernandez.

William Stevens, who is currently serving prison time for attempted robbery charged that detectives from the 42nd Precinct falsely arrested him at least 100 times over a three-year period starting in 2014, and forced him to lie about witnessing a crime in at least 25 different cases, sometimes with Slott's help. At least three of those cases involved Hernandez.

In his claim, Stevens says he was beaten by detectives until he identified Hernandez as the 2015 shooter.

He said that Slott threatened him, saying that if he did not identify Hernandez as a criminal, it would be "very bad for him" and that he'd be arrested. Slott then pursued the cases knowing they were based on falsified information, according to the notice of claim.

According to someone with knowledge of the investigation, the Public Integrity Bureau is planning a trip to go meet with him. 

Tyrese Revels, the victim of the earlier shootings for which charges against Hernandez were dropped, also filed a notice of intent to sue the DA's office.

He said in the paperwork that Slott and law enforcement officials tried to pressure him into identifying Hernandez as the shooter and into saying that Angelo Cotto, who has also filed a suit against the city and police officers, was involved in the shooting.

When Revels refused, he was charged with assault and robbery, according to the claim. He spent a month on Rikers Island before those charges were dropped.

A third claimant, Aaron Prince, also alleges he was falsely arrested by members of the 42nd Precinct and pressured into identifying Hernandez for the 2015 shooting. He claims that Slott threatened him into playing along even though he said he didn't recognize Hernandez and hadn't witnessed the crime. 

The city's Law Department declined to comment on the claims.

O'Shaughnessy said she was not allowed to comment on any of the specific allegations against Slott but said that the ongoing investigation into the Hernandez case is being conducted very thoroughly. She could not say how long the investigation would take.

Hernandez, who is still facing a robbery charge, was held for a year on $250,000 bail in the gun case until the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization posted a reduced bail of $100,000 for him in July.