This is John Kennedy O’Hara speaking. Excuse that there may be typos. I’ve been rushing with a bunch of things.
I had been prosecuted by the Brooklyn DA for what’s called false registration and illegal voting. To make a long story short, the DA made a deal with . . . my former opponent to get something on me and for about two years there was just a lot of investigation and it became under the guise of residency because if you investigate someone for their residency you get to go through all their documents on the guise of how they pay their rent and utilities. So the DA went through every check and credit card slip for two years. . .
So I went to surrender. And when I was being fingerprinted and photographed and I was really…The charges were false registration and illegal voting. I had two places in Brooklyn and the place I voted out of they claimed was not my principal and permanent residence, which it was not. It was a place I lived in for only one year. There had never been a case like this before. The last one prosecuted for false registration and illegal voting was Susan B. Anthony. That was in 1873. But they were serious charges and I was tried three times. I was the first person ever tried three times on the same charge. It became one of the most expensive criminal cases in New York. I was tried, convicted and it got reversed on appeal. Then I got tried a second time. It was a hung jury. And then I got tried a third time and got convicted again. And then it went up through all kinds of appeals that don’t usually happen because it was a unique case.
…You know, it took on a life of it’s own. But, I got through it. And I never did any time. I was sentenced to community service, like 1500 hours. It was long. And then I was disbarred as an attorney. I was out for about 12 years and then I applied to be reinstated. And then I got reinstated and the appellate division said I should have never been prosecuted to begin with. It was some sense of vindication.
The case of Judge John Phillips
I met Judge Phillips in the summer of ’76. . . He was a larger than life character. Judge Phillips was a unique person. He was the first black man admitted to the Montana State Bar. He owned 12 apartment buildings and two movie theaters. The Slave Theater it was in Bed-Stuy. He was very well known…
…It was horrible what happened to him. . . [W]e were planning to run him again in 2001 and then all of a sudden his utilities got shut off and we couldn’t figure out why. He goes to the bank and all of his accounts have been sealed up.
Turns out what happened was one year before the election Hynes started what’s called and ex parte proceeding and he didn’t know about it. .. and then they has a guardian appointed. Hynes had his former chief of staff appointed as judge Phillip’s guardian…they seized control over all his buildings, his bank accounts and … that was it. He was broke. He was broke and he fought it for years. The confined him to a facility that was a nursing home. We fought it, tried to get him out and he died there. They wouldn’t give him his medication, they wouldn’t give him a diabetic menu and in the end his apartment had no heat and he froze to death. And I was so angry. . .
And I got reinstated to practice and my first case is a wrongful death case against that facility. And it’s going to trial next year.