The New York Post by Kirstan Conley - May 27, 2011
Someone with the right connections could mouth off to a Bronx cop during a traffic stop -- and still make their ticket disappear. That story emerged yesterday in Bronx Supreme Court from a cop granted immunity in the ticket-fixing scandal and transcripts of secretly recorded conversations involving a union official. Around April 2010, the nephew of a Bronx police sergeant was pulled over after zooming past a Highway Patrol car that he nearly crashed into. The nephew, named in the transcripts as John Van Gaglia, "gave him a hard time," a cop named Pat told Joe Anthony, a Patrolmen's Benevolent Association trustee caught up in the ticket-fix probe. "Number 1, he almost -- he tried to hit his car, almost hit his car," Pat said. "But he jetted, on the road. He tried to squeeze by." When the NYPD highway cop pulled him over, Pat said, Van Gaglia "gave him a lot of- -king mouth." The Highway Patrol officer resisted efforts to make the ticket go away. "That guy apparently pissed him off," Pat explained. In the transcript, Anthony seems to back up the Highway Patrol cop's push to bring the ticket to court. "I don't expect anybody to take s- -t from anybody," he told Pat. Harrington Marshall, another Highway Patrol officer, said on the witness stand yesterday that he was able to persuade the unidentified cop to drop the case, allowing the sergeant's nephew to go unpunished. Marshall said he is cooperating with the Bronx DA's office in return for immunity from prosecution in the scandal, which is now before a grand jury. As many as 400 cops could face departmental or even criminal charges for fixing tickets by losing paperwork or missing court dates. Marshall testified in the drunken-driving case of Stephen Lopresti, a former Bronx assistant DA. Defense lawyers hope that bringing out Marshall's alleged involvement in fixing tickets will persuade jurors he's not a credible witness against Lopresti. Eight days before Anthony was heard on the tapes discussing the Highway Patrol officer's ticket, Harrington called him to discuss fixing two other citations from the 63rd and 71st precincts in Brooklyn. "Just text me the, ah, cop's name, the motorist name and when it's going [to court]," Anthony allegedly instructed. Ten Internal Affairs Bureau officers and a Bronx assistant DA visited Anthony at his home several weeks ago -- but they were unable to persuade him to give evidence against his fellow cops, sources said.