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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Solomon Dwek Credible?

The first trial emanating from the legendary Bid Rig corruption busts in mid-2009 starts tomorrow (Monday) in Newark federal court, when jury selection (in legal parlance, the "voir dire") for former burlesque dancer-turned-real estate broker and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini begins.

The presentation of this case by the Justice Department should be measured against new guidelines it issued earlier this month.   The guidelines, as revised, make for very interesting reading. 

Beldini is supposedly caught on a federal wiretap talking corruptly with the erstwhile Mr. Dwek.   However, there are going to be questions regarding Mr. Dwek's credibility.  This is going to be interesting. 

Dwek is a man who, among other things, tried to pass off two multi-million dollar bad checks, got caught (he pled guilty this past fall), and then, fearing a likely long prison sentence, worked assiduously for the next couple of years to implicate anyone and everyone around him.   Religious and community ties were no barrier; Dwek approached -- and was able to implicate -- a host of rabbis within his own Orthodox Jewish community, and all manner of politicians, particularly in Hudson County.  

For his efforts, Dwek has likely been ostracized from his congregation, the larger religious community in Deal, NJ and is probably a candidate for witness protection. He will be sentenced, probably after he is no longer useful as a  "cooperating witness" for the Justice Department.   This will occur only after several lawyers, including Ms. Beldini's counsel Brian Neary (aka "Bow Tie"), take their shots at Mr. Dwek.  

I wonder whether Mr. Dwek's willingness to try to compromise virtually everyone around him, and risking ostracization from the tightly-knit Orthodox Jewish community (or worse), indicates either sheer desperation to escape long jail time, or some sort of pathological narcissism.  Dwek has almost literally thrown away everything in his life, first by committing his crime and secondly by damaging almost every relationship he has with people and institutions around him.   This damage is not limited to himself; consider the damage he has done to his own family.   Dwek's father is a rabbi in the Jersey Shore town of Deal (in which many of his "marks" also resided, at least part-time), and Dwek has a wife and children. 

I think there are substantial questions of fact as to his credibility, which may become very relevant if the wiretap tapes prove to be faulty, ambiguous, vague, uncertain or in any way less than what we've been promised by the federal authorities.   I expect these questions will be raised, not only by defense attorneys, but also by the various presiding judges in these cases.   Beldini's case is going to be heard by Judge Jose Linares, sitting in Newark.  It is going to be very interesting this week.

 Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer who has been practicing law since graduating from Yale Law School in 1994. Mr. Dixon cautions that this article is not legal advice. Mr. Dixon has handled election law and other matters for over two dozen political clients, and also handles corporate investigations, due diligence and sensitive matters including crisis management.  Mr. Dixon is available for consultation or comment at and 917-696-2442. 

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