Widow Faces Murder Charges 18 Years Later

The defense said that the 1990 murder case is weak and his client is innocent.

By Jonathan Dienst and Alice McQuillan
|  Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008  |  Updated 8:22 PM EDT
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Widow Faces Murder Charges 18 Years Later

Barbara Kogan

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Eighteen years after her millionaire husband was gunned down bringing groceries to his mistress, Barbara Kogan faced murder charges.
 
Prosecutors said she killed her husband amid an angry divorce and a need for money.  Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joel Seidemann said she had asked her divorce lawyer to hire a hitman in 1990. Her millionaire husband, George Kogan, was later shot on the Upper East Side.  

 
"That anger became so overwhelming that she and Mr. Martinez chose to sort of litigate the divorce through the bullets of a gun rather than through the good offices of the court," Seidemann said. 
 
In Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday, Kogan's defense attorney Barry Levin countered that the 1990 murder case is weak and his client is innocent.
 
"The testimony from the prior case as pertaining to Barbara Kogan was mainly innuendo and gossip," Levin said.
 
The two sides were in court arguing over bail for Kogan.  The explosive hearing revolved around the murder charges, which allege she cashed in a $4.3 million insurance policy after her husband was shot in front of his new girlfriend's East 69th Street apartment building in October 1990.
 
The hitman was never arrested. But her divorce lawyer, Manuel Martinez, was convicted in April of arranging the murder. Prosecutors said Kogan had arranged to pay him $40,000 to help carry out the murder.
 
After the shooting, prosecutors said Barbara Kogan was unmoved as her husband was dying in a nearby hospital.
 
 "So you have George dying in the hospital and Barbara having her hair done," Seidemann said.
 
The defense insists that the husband, a wealthy investor who once owned a casino in Puerto Rico, had other enemies.
 
"He dealt with underworld characters on a daily basis and most importantly, he stiffed everybody he ever did business with, not just his wife," Levin said.
 
Barbara Kogan turned herself in Monday.  Her lawyer said the allegations have taken a toll and that she was recently receiving psychiatric care.
 
Judge Michael Obus said he would make a decision on bail by early December.  Kogan remains behind bars until then.  Her lawyer had asked she be released with an ankle bracelet.

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