'Sometimes, Man, Money Is The Root Of All Evil'
When Wave editor Howard Schwach sat down with Michael Green on November 5, he was not quite sure what he would get out of an interview with a man who had admittedly lied in court about a phony tape he had made exonerating Kareem Bellamy for a 14-year-old murder.
"That I did," Green responded. "Sometimes, man, money is the root of all evil."
Green admitted to Schwach that he lied to attorney Thomas Hoffman to "play him" for more than $6,000 that he demanded in order to "get out of Rockaway," but reportedly used for gambling trips to Atlantic City.
Green provided Hoffman with a tape that purported to be the voice of Levon "Ishmael" Melvyn, a former friend of Green's, who had fired Green for stealing copper pipe from a construction site where the two were working. On the tape, "Melvyn" could be heard admitting to a murder in Rockaway on April 9, 1994. Although Green had a friend play the part of Melvyn on the tape, and testified that the tape was real, Green later testified that he had lied, but only after Queens District Attorney Richard Brown granted Green immunity on the perjury charge.
Now, Green is in more serious trouble in his pursuit of money and has left prosecutors wondering just what his testimony in the Bellamy case is worth.
Kevin Ryan, a spokesperson for DA Brown, declined to comment on whether or not Green's arrest would impact the
ongoing hearing in the Bellamy case, which is scheduled to resume on January 5 with Green being crossexamined by Bellamy's attorney, Steven Silberblatt. "We won't comment on anything to do with Bellamy," Ryan said, when asked about Green's credibility. Green was busted on November 11 on charges that he held up an Edgemere woman at knifepoint, taking more than $100 and fleeing the scene. He is charged with breaking into the Ocean Bay Houses apartment of Anne Heidt, 56, at about 2:15 p.m. on December 7 and holding a knife to her neck as he demanded money. "Sorry, it's the economy," Green told Heidt, sources told The Wave this week. He made off with the contents of her wallet and a wad of cash, police say.
Accompanied by his attorney, Green turned himself in to detectives at the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway on Thursday night.
After complaining of chest pains, Green was transported to Jamaica Hospital and remained there under guard at press time.
Although Green was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of burglary, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon at a bedside arraignment at the hospital on Tuesday, a source at Brown's office said that the arraignment would probably be postponed, despite the fact that the law requires that the arrested person be arraigned within 180 hours of arrest or else be released on his or her own recognizance, something that does not normally happen in weapons cases.
Kevin Ryan, a spokesperson for District Attorney Brown said on Wednesday that the rules were different for a person who remains in the hospital, but legal experts say that bedside arraignments are routinely performed within the deadline. One source, who asked not to be identified because he has no permission to speak with the press, told The Wave that there had been a judge and an assistant district attorney in the hospital on Tuesday to arraign a suspect in another case, but that they declined to arraign Green. The Wave could not corroborate that information from an independent source, however.
Green's lawyer told reporters that Green had decided to turn himself in after he heard that police were looking for him in connection with the case.
Police sources say that the victim picked Green out of a lineup at the precinct on Thursday night and identified him as her attacker.
Silberblatt told The Wave on Monday that it would not be appropriate to comment on the impact that Green's arrest would have on his client's fight to remain out of prison.
He did say, however, that "nobody could suspect that Green made a credible witness" at any time during the proceedings, especially after he admitted to lying about how the tape was made.
"Even Melvyn, who was his friend, called him unreliable," Silberblatt said.
"Nobody has believed what he has said from the beginning," he added. "I believe that he was telling the truth about the tape at the beginning and that he is lying now, when he says that it is a fake."
Silberblatt, who has been a public defender for more than 35 years, thinks that Green may have an ulterior motive for committing the crime.
"Perhaps [Green] wants off the streets because he is frightened of somebody," the attorney said. "This might be his way of getting off the street."
In his interview with The Wave, however, Green said that he was not frightened of Melvyn or anybody else.
"I'm never gonna stop walking the streets of Rockaway," he said. "I'm not afraid of nothing."
If he is convicted of the charges which he now faces, however, a source for the DA's office said, he could be off Rockaway streets for a long time, perhaps as long as 25 years.