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NY district attorney asks to toss 90 drug convictions

by The Associated Press | April 8, 2021 at 4:14 a.m.

NEW YORK — Prosecutors are asking a New York City court to throw out 90 drug convictions after a review of arrests involving a former narcotics detective now facing corruption charges.

The mostly low-level cases investigated by Joseph Franco while he was an NYPD officer in Brooklyn from 2004 to 2011 should be vacated because of his ongoing criminal case in Manhattan, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday. A 2019 indictment accuses Franco of perjury and other charges alleging he framed innocent people at a time when one supervisor has said he was considered a star cop.

While a review of the cases dating back a decade or more found no similar misconduct on Franco’s part or that the defendants were innocent, Gonzalez said Wednesday in a statement that because of the Manhattan case, “I have lost confidence in his work.” Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense practice, lauded Gonzalez’s decision to vacate the convictions. She urged other district attorneys in the city to perform similar reviews.

However, the decision drew a sharp rebuke from Franco’s lawyer, Howard Tanner, who called it “baseless and irresponsible.”

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