Longtime prosecutor Brad Leventhal resigned from the Queens District Attorney’s office after a recent case raised questions about misconduct.
Last month, Queens Judge Joseph Zayas overturned the convictions of George Bell, Rohan Bolt and Gary Johnson. The three men went to prison accused of the 1996 killing of a shop owner and off-duty NYPD officer.
Judge Zayas told the men last month, “the miscarriage of justice in your case and in your cases is egregious.”
Zayas said he discovered that prosecutors withheld evidence that showed another group was responsible for the crimes.
“The wrongdoing, as Judge Zayas said, was deliberate in this case,” explained Charles Linehan.
Linehan is an attorney with the legal defense team for Bell, Bolt & Johnson.
“It’s really a watershed moment for prosecutors,” he said.
Leventhal stepped down from his role in the Queens DA office this week after pressure from community advocates, including Councilman I. Daneek Miller.
The Office of District Attorney Melinda Katz did not comment on Leventhal’s resignation but told PIX11 in a statement, “Cases like these are exactly why District Attorney Katz created the Conviction Integrity Unit immediately after taking office. For decades, these men sought unsuccessfully to have their convictions overturned. But it wasn’t until the CIU’s investigation uncovered constitutional violations that justice moved forward, resulting in the vacated convictions of George Bell, Gary Johnson and Rohan Bolt. There is now an on-going investigation to determine whether to vacate the indictments or proceed to prosecute. The results will be presented to the Court on June 4, 2021.”