May 24, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A Kew Gardens attorney was found guilty yesterday of bribing a witness in a 2015 murder trial, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
John Scarpa, Jr., 66, who practiced law out of 125-10 Queens Blvd., will now face up to 10 years in prison for his crimes.
Scarpa, along with co-conspirator Charles Gallman, bribed convicted murderer Luis Cherry to testify in favor of Scarpa’s client, Reginald Ross, during Ross’s murder trial.
Ross was facing charges for two execution-style murders—one of which was the 2010 killing of John Williams, to which Cherry had already pleaded guilty for partaking in.
Scarpa and Gallman wanted Cherry, who was already facing 60 years in prison, to say that he alone had committed the 2010 killing. Gallman met with Cherry at Downstate Correctional Facility and bribed him with promises of helping him with the appeal for his own murder conviction, as well as ensuring that word would be spread around the prison system that Cherry had not informed against Ross—something that garners prisoners prestige.
After meeting with Cherry, Gallman reported back to Scarpa that “Anything we need, he’s willing.” Scarpa then asked, “So this guy is willing to do whatever?” to which Gallman replied, “Whatever you need, John. Whatever you need…. I got a bunch of stuff I wrote down that he wants.”
Scarpa then called Cherry as a witness during Ross’s trial where Cherry gave false testimony, stating that Ross was not involved in the murder.
“The jury saw through Scarpa’s corrupt scheme to help his client avoid responsibility for murder by bribing a witness to give false testimony,” United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said about Scarpa’s conviction. “With today’s verdict, the defendant will now face prison and disbarment for attempting to undermine the criminal justice system and violating the law he was sworn to uphold as an attorney.”
Gallman pleaded guilty in November of last year to bribing a witness to testify falsely, and conspiring to make false statements to the Bureau of Prisons in a separate scheme. He was sentenced in March to three years in prison.