The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, September 19, 2002  

Another New York Judge Under Scrutiny

What is it with New York judges? Shades of Sol Wachtler here . . .

Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Marylin Diamond might be in some serious trouble.

According to a report in today’s Daily News (New York), “Hate-Mail Judge’s Hit List” by Michele McPhee, unnamed law enforcement sources believe Diamond is herself the author of numerous “bizarre messages that threatened her life” during the past three years.

Diamond, working with police on the case, identified some 20 litigants from her court who she thought might be sending the threatening letters. In response to the initial messages, the judge was provided with a 24-hour security detail that has been in place almost continually for the past three years, an expensive and highly unusual measure that could ultimately prove to be a total waste of time and money.

According to the Daily News, Ray Pierce, an FBI profiler and a retired detective with the New York Police Department, analyzed 48 letters sent to Diamond’s home and office over a period of three years and “concluded that the author of the deadly letters was the judge herself.”

“Pierce based his findings on a number of factors, including the fact the threats intensified when her security detail was about to be discontinued,” McPhee reports. “He told cops the only one with anything to gain by the letters was Diamond, sources said.”

Despite this conclusion, the police “have no hard evidence linking Diamond to the letters,” and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said yesterday that the investigation continues.

Each person named by Diamond has been checked out, and cleared, by the police. Among those questioned was Tom Snowdon, ex-husband of fashion designer Cathy Hardwick, who criticized Diamond after his 1998 divorce, a case heard in her court. Also fingered by Diamond: billionaire Alec Wildenstein, whom the judge ordered pay $200,000 a month in alimony to his ex-wife.

Whoever sent the letters is clearly disturbed. “One letter contained what looked to be a piece of ‘skin from a person’s nose’ that turned out to be plastic, and another was filled with purported anthrax that was really biscuit mix,” writes McPhee. “In some letters, the writer called Diamond a pig. Others were anti-Semitic. All threatened her life.”

It appears that Diamond slipped up at least once and may have implicated herself in the twisted scheme. “At one point, [Diamond] turned over a letter with white powder during the anthrax scare, but the substance was found to be biscuit mix,” according to the report. “The same week the letter arrived, investigators found an empty box of biscuit mix in the garbage at Diamond’s East Side townhouse, sources said.”

Last week Diamond lost her round-the-clock security detail after the Daily News spoke with her about Pierce’s potentially devastating conclusions, which she termed “totally incorrect and grossly irresponsible.” The security force was reinstated, however, after a Sept. 15 report in the same paper sparked concerns in the Office of Court Administration.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |