Rensselaer County DA Claims Vindication After Judge's Ruling

Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove tells WAMC he has been “vindicated” after a judge dismissed misconduct and perjury charges against the Republican this week. Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, filed the charges over the DA’s handling of a deadly shooting by a Troy police officer. Abelove says he doesn’t know how the AG’s office will respond, but said the disgraced Schneiderman has his own legal troubles.

“Well, right now the case is dismissed; it’s over and unless the attorney general’s office elects to try to appeal it, it will remain over," Abelove said. "So I don’t know what the attorney general’s office is going to do at this point, but as we sit here today, there are no charges pending against me. I have been vindicated. The indictment was dismissed after my attorney made the motion to the court, and the attorney general responded to that motion. The court sided with us, because it sided with the law, and, as you I’m sure read in the court’s decision, the court found the attorney general exceeded his jurisdiction."

Abelove added: "Some of the very things I was allegedly being accused of, the court found the AG did. He acted beyond the scope of his authority when he pursued these charges against me, and by doing that, the attorney general tainted the grand jury process, and that’s why the indictment got dismissed.

"It’s no petty thing. It’s not a technicality; jurisdiction is a substantial legal theory, and it’s a legal requirement to bring charges. So obviously the former AG, Eric Schneiderman, isn’t still in office to have to deal with the aftermath of this. He’s got his own legal troubles, obviously, but the court's finding was appropriate, we believe, and as to how I feel about it, obviously it’s something that provides me and my family quite a bit relief that it appears to be over.”

On Monday, the AG’s office said it was determining how to move the case forward and said it disagreed with the ruling.

Amy Spitalnick of the attorney general's office said in a statement:

“Our indictment detailed a disturbing pattern of misconduct that violated the law and undermined a criminal investigation. We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are determining how best to move this critical case forward.”