2009-05-29 / Top Stories

Bellamy Hearing Adjourned To September 25

By Howard Schwach

Convicted murderer Kareem Bellamy will remain at home until at least January thanks to the Queens District Attorney's failure to file papers necessary for a May 19 hearing, a person close to the case told The Wave on Tuesday.

In July of last year, Queens Supreme Court Judge Joel Blumenthal vacated Bellamy's conviction in the stabbing murder of James Abbott on Beach 47 Street on April 9, 1994.

At that time, Queen District Attorney Richard Brown said, "The sole basis for the court's setting aside the defendant's conviction was a recorded conversation proffered by the defense, which purported to be between a defense witness and a third party, in which the third party confessed to having stabbed the victim - the crime for which the defendant was convicted."

In mid-August, Judge Blumenthal released Bellamy from jail pending a new trial.

But the informant who provided the tape to defense lawyer Thomas Hoffman and private detective Ed Henson has since told authorities in the Queens District Attorney's office that he staged the recording "to create false evidence because I was paid thousands of dollars by the attorneys for Kareem Bellamy."

Since that time, the Bellamy case has become what one court-watcher calls a "soap opera gone mad."

Charges and counter-charges have been made by prosecutors; by Michael Green, the man who made the bogus tape; by Levon "Ishmael" Melvin, whom detectives investigating the crime fifteen years ago thought might have been involved, and whom Green implicated as the murderer on the now-infamous tape; by prosecutor Brad Leventhal, who has accused attorney Thomas Hoffman and private detective Ed Hensen of feeding Green information about Melvin to make the phony tape; and by Hoffman and Hensen, who say they had no knowledge that the tape was bogus until after Bellamy was released.

Blumenthal was scheduled to make a final ruling on May 19 as to whether or not Bellamy had to go back to jail.

According to Steven Silberblatt, Bellamy's court-appointed attorney, however, prosecutors were to file papers on their motion to reverse the judge's decision to vacate the conviction by May 19.

"They did not serve the papers and had no choice but to adjourn the hearings until September," Silberblatt told The Wave on Tuesday morning.

Silberblatt termed the failure to serve the papers on him as "strange and inappropriate."

He is happy, however, that the adjournment gives his client some guaranteed time at home.

"This is the first summer in many years that Bellamy is at liberty," he said. "That is a positive development."

Silberblatt said that he was finally served through an email attachment on Friday, and that the "ball is now in his court again."

He has until July 23 to respond to the prosecutor's papers.

"I really want to resolve this in my client's favor," he said. "It has been too long."

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