Gigi Jordan Prosecutor Exonerated by Judge
A veteran Manhattan prosecutor accused by defense lawyers in the Gigi Jordan murder case of multiple acts of professional misconduct has been exonerated by a judge who took the defense team to task for castigating the attorney.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon (See Profile) also suggested the defense, not the prosecution, was to blame for delays that have kept the defendant in jail for four years awaiting trial.
Jordan, a millionaire former pharmaceutical executive accused of feeding her autistic eight-year-old son a fatal dose of prescription pills, has alleged through her team of attorneys that the initial lead prosecutor, Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Kerry O'Connell, lied to the court, violated court orders, was responsible for or complicit in the destruction of evidence and possibly eavesdropped on privileged communications.
But Solomon, in a 31-page decision issued Friday, said he found no evidence that O'Connell did anything wrong in this case or any other, despite defense claims that she was also accused of improprieties in matters unrelated to the Jordan case.
"The Court notes that there has never been a finding by any court in any jurisdiction that O'Connell has ever engaged in any form of prosecutorial misconduct," Solomon wrote in People v. Jordan, 621-10. "No one has ever found that O'Connell has ever done anything improper in any case in which she has ever been involved."
Solomon acknowledged that "in a perfect world" the prosecution could have been more diligent about turning over discovery material earlier than they did, made materials more readily available to the defense, and done a better job handling some evidence. But he said those "errors in judgment or simpl[e] mistakes…do not even come close to governmental misconduct."
The court also noted that the defense, which has repeatedly complained about how long Jordan has been in jail awaiting trial, is largely responsible for the delay.
Solomon said at the end of his decision that he "cannot help but make one final observation," namely, that the defendant has submitted four separate bail applications, all of them denied and all of them appealed unsuccessfully. He quoted from a decision in a related matter pending in the Southern District, a habeas corpus petition, in which Judge Katherine Forrest (See Profile) said that if Jordan "is interested in a speedy trial, she should require her trial counsel to immediately" seek a trial date.
"This Court certainly agrees and urges both parties in this case to seek the earliest possible trial date," Solomon wrote. "And, on this point, the Court will certainly make every effort to assist in moving this case to trial."
O'Connell and the district attorney's office have endured an extraordinary invective from the defense since at least June, fielding allegations of scurrilous misconduct, much of it having to do with evidence that Jordan claims should have been preserved or collected (NYLJ, June 17, 2013).