Former District Attorney Admits to Detaining Witnesses
Months after former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Joe Hynes denied reports that his office detained witnesses overnight in hotel rooms, he admitted to the practice in a sworn deposition in December that is now getting attention from the public.
The New York Daily News reported that Hynes’ deposition, which is part of a $150 million wrongful conviction lawsuit, is in stark contrast to statements he made during his 2013 reelection campaign against current District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson. During the campaign, Hynes denied that his office detained the witnesses. Yet, in a deposition in the suit brought by Jabbar Colllins, who spent 16 years in prison for killing a Brooklyn rabbi before the conviction was vacated by a federal judge, Haynes conceded that his office did detain witnesses prior to their testimony. Hynes said in the deposition:
“You would go to a jail or go to a hotel room . . . typically the stay, as I understood it, was an overnight stay and then they would testify and that would be the end of it. . . They were not free to leave; so sure, they were prisoners.”
During his reelection campaign, Hynes went further than denying any wrongdoing. He also called any practice of detainment in a hotel room “truly frightening” and “insane.” Thursday, he told the Daily News that there was nothing inconsistent about his two remarks and that the program was misunderstood, claiming that witnesses weren’t held against their will.
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