John Meringolo, lawyer for James Grant, the officer who pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court Wednesday said, “It’s similar to what the FBI said about Hillary Clinton, and why she wasn’t charged." Meringolo claims that the difference is, "She was unaware she was committing a crime. Here, there is no crime whatsoever." The lawyer described the allegations against his client, including acting as a bodyguard for sex worker Gabi Grecko during a Las Vegas trip, as little more than a police conduct violation.
The lawyer pointed out that former police commissioner Ray Kelly "took a private jet" and paid for it afterward in an attempt to silence critics. "There’s been similar conduct with private jets in the past," he said, implying that if politicians can engage in similar conduct without punishment, so should his client.
Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg and NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington also plead not guilty to charges on Wednesday, including conspiracy to pay and receive bribes, payment and receipt of bribes, conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud and honest-services wire fraud.
A grand jury indicted Grant and Harrington last week, sentencing them to 40 years in prison, up from the 20 years they faced when they were first charged.
Reichber has been accused of funneling large sums of money to police officials, with his associate Jona Rechnitz. Reichber could potentially face 55 years in prison if convicted.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said that Reichber developed "a private police force for themselves and their friends." Reichberg, Grant and Harrington were arrested over 3 years ago at the culmination of a corruption investigation that sent shockwaves through the NYPD, even implicating the mayor’s office, as Bill DeBlasio’s staff undergoes a fundraising probe.
Prosecutors claim that Grant accepted a trip to Las Vegas in 2013, complete with private jet. The plan alone costs $57,000. While on the flight, he allegedly had sex with Grecko, who wore a revealing flight attendant outfit.
Grecko told reporters that she had sex with two officers and three other men while in Vegas as well.