2009-01-09 / Top Stories

Will Hoffman Face The Rap In Bellamy Case?

By Howard Schwach

Bellamy, center, flanked by attorney Thomas Hoffman (left) and private detective Ed Hensen after Bellamy's release. Bellamy, center, flanked by attorney Thomas Hoffman (left) and private detective Ed Hensen after Bellamy's release. Published reports on Wednesday say that Thomas Hoffman, the lawyer who helped convicted murderer Kareem Bellamy get out of jail after 14 years, now may face charges of his own in connection with a tape that another Rockaway man said pointed to the real murderer but that was later said to be falsified.

Those reports surfaced in the Daily News, the day after a hearing in which Michael Green, the man who allegedly made the false tape, and others involved in the Kareem Bellamy case testified.

"Queens prosecutors could bring criminal charges against the defense attorney who helped free a convicted murderer using a taped confession that turned out to be a fake, lawyers revealed in court yesterday," wrote Nicole Bode, a Daily News reporter who has been covering the hearing.

At Tuesday's hearing, Green testified that the phony tape was made possible because Hoffman and former New York City detective Ed "Black Cloud" Hensen had given him the inside information that had made it seem real.

Green, however, told Wave editor Howard Schwach in a long interview on November 5 at the paper's office that neither Hoffman nor Hensen knew that the tape was a fake until after Bellamy was freed.

Portions of the taped interview that Green gave Schwach in November Portions of the taped interview that Green gave Schwach in November were reportedly used in court to show that Green was not telling the truth.

Green already has immunity for his false testimony in court in October in which he said that the tape was genuine.

Hoffman told The Wave that Bode got it all wrong.

"It's an unbelievable situation," Hoffman said. "You got the murderers still out on the street and the assistant district attorney is palling around with Ishmael Melvyn, who was named for the murder back in 1994, and Michael Green, who just attacked and robbed an elderly woman."

"They're giving Green a free ride after he testified that he had perjured himself at least once. They got him on other crimes, and they don't seem to want to do anything about them. Green was arrested in November on drugs or something and then in December for assault and robbery. He has already perjured himself and they have him up on the stand testifying against others. Green is scamming the DA to get a free ride on his other crimes and to get freedom for his son, who also was arrested. The DA should be criticized for what he is doing."

"That's the joke," the attorney added.

They are investigating us and giving him a free ride."

A spokesperson for District Attorney Richard Brown declined to comment on the charges, stating, "We cannot comment on ongoing investigations.".

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