Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' office used hotel rooms to hold witnesses against their will and force them into testifying, shocking new court papers claim.
“Hynes’ office was running a private jail system where witnesses were illegally interrogated and forcibly detained indefinitely,” lawyer Joel Rudin said in court papers filed Wednesday.
Rudin is the lawyer for Jabbar Collins, a man who spent 15 years in jail for murdering a Brooklyn rabbi until he was ordered free by a federal judge. Rudin has filed a $150 million wrongful-conviction lawsuit against Hynes' office.
Rudin cited a deposition by a former investigator in Hynes' office who described the practice of using warrants to arrest witnesses and trapping uncooperative ones in hotel rooms, The Daily News reports.
“There are circumstances where the person will say, ‘I’m not coming. No way.’ And then, we would immediately handcuff them and take them away," said Christopher Salsarulo, according to a transcript of his deposition.
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"Once they're handcuffed, they're in their underwear and you speak to them a little bit more, ‘Are you going to fight us? You like pants?’ You know, if that's the case, if they’re compliant, we dress them and give them water, whatever they need so they would be comfortable.”
A spokesman for Hynes had no comment on the allegations, the News reported.
Collins was freed in 2010 after the mishandling of his case became evident. According to Collins, who gathered evidence while behind bars, key witnesses against him were threatened by Hynes' prosecutor Michael Vecchione and held against their will until they testified.