Prosecutors argued Thursday in Bronx Supreme Court that construction company owners Frank and Peter DiTommaso lied to the grand jury six years ago about paying for renovations to the Riverdale apartment of disgraced former police commissioner Bernard Kerik.
“Back in 1999, these defendants thought that Bernard B. Kerik was a big shot, that he had juice, power and influence,” Stuart Levy, assistant district attorney told the jury on Thursday. Prosecutors argued that the two brothers used the relationship with Kerik to gain government contracts and licenses.
Kerik is scheduled to testify next month. “He will not take responsibility for their actions,” said Levy. Kerik, 57, is serving a 48-month sentence for eight federal crimes, including lying to White House officials when he was being considered to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
Frank DiTommaso’s attorney opened her defense with a flourish. “I’m tempted to quote ‘My Cousin Vinny,’” said Cathy Fleming, referring to the 1992 Hollywood movie starring Joe Pesci. “What he said is BS,” she said, waving her hand dramatically toward the prosecutor. Members of the jury nodded and chuckled.
Fleming then held up a poster-sized copy of her client’s indictment, in an attempt to argue that the district attorney’s case is based on conspiracy theories. “The prosecutors blurred the timeline, blurred the brothers and blurred the companies,” she said.
Frank DiTommaso, 53, is charged with one count of perjury while his brother, Peter DiTommaso, 51, faces two counts. The DiTommasos own the New Jersey-based companies, Interstate Construction, Interstate Drywall and Interstate Materials.
Levy told the jury that the cost of the renovations that included a jacuzzi and a marble foyer totaled $255,000. He added that Kerik often complained to his friend Lawrence Ray that his government salary was insufficient to cover living expenses.
Ray loaned money to Kerik for the down payment on his apartment. He was also employed by the DiTommasos from 1998 to 2000 as a business consultant.
The defendant’s attorneys also stressed the relationship between Kerik, Ray and the DiTommasos. “How nicely that [Ray] fits in to the prosecutor’s conspiracy theory,” said Michael A. Marinaccio, the attorney for Peter DiTommaso.
Ray was convicted of stock manipulation in 2000. The DiTommasos terminated his employment less than a week after his conviction.
The trial is expected to resume Friday, Sept. 28, at 10:30 a.m.
“I am confident that you will find the defendants not guilty as charged,” concluded Levy, “but guilty as proven.”