A criminal defense attorney turned criminal and his shady sidekick were sentenced to 3-to-9 years in prison on Wednesday for bribing a courthouse employee for cases.
Benjamin Yu and Jose Nunez both remained free after the proceeding, pending the outcome of their appeal.
But the judge who oversaw their trial said prison was due to the sketchy pay-to-play pair.
“Either or both of you could have done the public good had you used a fraction of your creativity and tirelessness to help people instead of being so incredibly self-serving and greedy,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke said.
Yu and Nunez, 37 and 49, were found guilty at trial of several counts including conspiracy, bribery and rewarding official misconduct.
They allegedly paid off an employee of the New York City Criminal Justice Agency, a nonprofit contracted by the city to do pre-arraignment interviews with arrestees.
The employee, Luis Veras Rodriguez, got payments in exchange for referring Yu and Nunez to desperate people with the promise that hiring them would be a ticket out of jail.
Judge called Nunez and Yu “incredibly self-serving and greedy.”
(Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)
Yu, who wore casual clothes and a fanny pack to meet his fate in court instead of a suit, declined to comment when given the chance.
Nunez also declined to speak at the sentencing.
Assistant District Attorney Samuel Levy said the defendants don’t seem to care that they cheated their colleagues and cheated to get ahead.
“Neither of these defendants have expressed any remorse for the crimes they committed, nor did they take responsibility for their actions in light of all these facts,” he said.
Lawyers for the two, Patrick Brackley and Robert Briere, argued against incarceration sentences.
Their primary defense at trial was that Rodriguez was not technically a city employee and could not have been bribed under the law.