Sept. 24, 2019 By Allie Griffin
A criminal defense attorney who practiced in Kew Gardens has been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for bribing a witness to commit perjury in a double homicide trial, according to prosecutors.
After a four-day trial in May 2019, John Scarpa, Jr., 66, was convicted of the charge and was sentenced Monday to 30 months imprisonment and fined $10,000 in Brooklyn federal court.
Scarpa had been practicing law in New York since 1982 and was a prosecutor at three district attorneys’ offices in the metropolitan area before entering private practice in 2003. His law office was on Queens Boulevard across from Queens County Criminal Court in Kew Gardens. Scarpa, who is from Long Island, will also be disbarred.
According to prosecutors, Scarpa plotted with a co-conspirator, Charles Gallman, to bribe a convicted murderer to take the fall for Scarpa’s client, Reginald Ross, who was charged with the execution-style murders of two men.
Scarpa bribed the imprisoned Luis Cherry to falsely testify in Suffolk County Supreme Court that he alone committed the second of the two murders and that Ross was innocent. In exchange, Scarpa and Gallman promised to help Cherry appeal his own murder conviction and spread word in the prison system that Cherry wasn’t a government informant.
Despite Cherry falsely testifying, the judge found Ross guilty of both murders.
“As a defense attorney and former prosecutor, Scarpa was sworn to uphold the law he so egregiously subverted,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “Scarpa went from practicing law to breaking the law and will now pay a price for his crime.”