The Sales of Justice

In the dark corridors of Brooklyn politics, a State Supreme Court judgeship sells for $50,000 stuffed in an envelope, and $6,000 in postage stamps

Ruditzky's campaign did pay Norman's party attorney, Israel Goldberg, $18,000, and another lawyer tied to the organization, Gerald Dunbar, $5,000, and two of the lawyers who actually handled the extensive litigation involving Ruditzky's petitions can't recall any real work either did. The party's attorney usually provides petition advice to incumbents without charge.

Ruditzky is the fourth judge snared by Hynes, a record for any New York district attorney. Hynes is showing the prosecutorial flexibility to make a case that makes history, cutting deals with his eye squarely on the goal of cleaning out not just a corrupt courthouse, but a corrupt courthouse system. The special prosecutor in the notorious racial murder case in Howard Beach, Queens, in 1986, Hynes authored a book that caught him reminiscing about his early days as a rackets prosecutor in Brooklyn. Hynes described the borough as "a squalid world of crooked cops and sleazy politicians, a world with no heroes." Two decades later, he is closer now than anyone with the power of a subpoena has ever been to disinfecting that squalid world.

illustration: Viktor Koen


See also:
  • How He Got That Story
    Inside a two-year reporting odyssey
    by Keach Hagey and Luke Jerod Kummer
  • Justice for Sale in Brooklyn
    Open thread in Power Plays

  • **Editor's note: This paragraph was inadvertently left out of the original Web version. It was added on January 14.
    Return to the article.

    Research assistants: Alex Altman, Brian Colgan, Adam Fleming, Keach Hagey, Luke Jerod Kummer, and Damien Weaver

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