This man was charged with the most unusual crime I have ever seen in reviewing Second Circuit opinions: he was a go-between corrupt police officers and criminal defendants. He would provide expensive gifts to the high-ranking officers in exchange for using their influence to obtain lenient treatment for the defendants. Bribery through gifts, not money. The defendant was convicted at trial, and the Court of Appeals affirms.
The case is United States v. Reichberg, issued on June 15. Here is how the Court of Appeals describes the arrangement:
The benefits the officers received took many forms, including trips on private jets and luxury hotel stays with prostitutes; football, basketball, and hockey tickets worth tens of thousands of dollars; international travel arrangements to Israel and the Dominican Republic; home improvements worth thousands of dollars; and approximately $60,000 in business steered toward certain of the officers’ private security companies.
Reichberg and [co-defendant] Rechnitz’s largesse obtained a host of favors from NYPD officers. For example, one of Reichberg’s clients was arrested three separate times, but each time was released from custody after Reichberg contacted NYPD officers. [Co-defendant] Grant exerted his influence to secure the processing and approval of gun licenses, even when those applications were deficient or the applicants unqualified for the type of license sought. Grant conferred this benefit on Reichberg, who obtained a full-carry gun license without the licensing division bothering to investigate whether he qualified for one. Banks secured Grant’s promotion to Inspector in the 19th Precinct, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—a strategic posting valuable to Reichberg and Rechnitz because of its proximity to Rechnitz’s Manhattan office. Officers also provided police rides and police escorts to Reichberg and Rechnitz’s friends to cut through traffic, arranged for an NYPD police boat to give rides to attendees at a barbecue Reichberg hosted, and arranged for an NYPD helicopter to do a flyover of a cocktail cruise organized by Reichberg.
Defendant raises a series of issues on appeal. One alleges a Fourth Amendment violation over the unlawful seizure of electronic evidence, which I imagine is how many of these bribes were proven at trial. It appears the government sent to Reichberg's co-defendants electronic discovery that was seized from his devices, but in doing so it sent them more information than they were entitled to, and that this extra evidence hurt his case. But the trial court found, and the Court of Appeals agrees, that the government released this information in error, and not on purpose. Fourth Amendment suppression remedies are available to deter the government from conducting unlawful seizures in the future. That interpretation of the exclusionary rule was articulated by the Supreme Court Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135 (2009), a controversial 5-4 ruling from the Supreme Court. What it means for this case is that since the data was mistakenly released, there is no Fourth Amendment violation because it was done in the good faith that Reichberg was consenting to the release of all of this data.