Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
New York City

Mistrial Declared in Ex-Jail Guard Union Boss Bribery Case

A federal judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the monthlong bribery trial of the former head of the nation's largest municipal jail guard union after jurors twice said they were deadlocked.

"After continued, spirited discussion and contemplation of the evidence, we find ourselves no closer to reaching a unanimous verdict and see no prospect of making further progress," the jurors' final note said in the trial of Norman Seabrook, 57, the former head of the New York City correction officer's union.

The government intends to retry Seabrook and his co-defendant, Murray Huberfeld, said Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"Although justice has been delayed, we expect it will ultimately prevail," Kim said in a statement.

Seabrook is accused of paying $60,000 in bribes to steer $20 million in union money to a hedge fund.

The government's chief witness told jurors Seabrook was promised between $100,000 and $150,000 annually for investing in the hedge fund.

The witness said he stuffed $60,000 in a pricey Ferragamo handbag - worth nearly $1,000 - hoping an elegant presentation would make up for a less-than-expected cash total.

Seabrook's lawyer said he acted honorably and legally and portrayed the star prosecution witness as a liar.

Seabrook had been free on bail since his June 2016 arrest on conspiracy and fraud charges. Investigators seized $28,700 in cash, most of it from a bedroom safe, from Seabrook's Bronx home when he was arrested. They also seized the bag the cash allegedly was delivered in and 10 pairs of Ferragamo shoes.

For more than two decades, Seabrook had been a powerbroker in New York City, representing guards in the city's 10,000-inmate jail system as head of the New York City Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.

Defense lawyers say much of that cash was from gambling winnings and had nothing to do with a bribe.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us