New York Criminal Defense Attorney Charged with Federal Crimes
by Chad Marks
Scott Brettschneider, 61, a criminal defense attorney from Queens, New York known by many as “Mighty Whitey,” was arrested on March 26, 2018 in connection with accusations that he falsified documents to get one of his clients an early release from prison. He and three other defendants were charged in a two-count indictment with conspiracy to make false statements and making false statements.
Brettschneider was implicated in a plot that involved submitting false information to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The documents contended that Brettschneider’s client Richard Marshal had a history of substance abuse and attempts at rehabilitation for his drug addiction. The BOP allows prisoners to earn one year off their sentences for completing a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). In order to be eligible for that program, prisoners must have a documented history of drug abuse, and Brettschneider and the others who were charged allegedly attempted to provide that documentation to the BOP on Marshal’s behalf. However, Marshal was a drug dealer – not a drug user with a substance abuse problem.
This was not Brettschneider’s only brush with the feds. In May 2018, Brooklyn federal prosecutors said the defense attorney had conspired to stage a phony exoneration in a murder case. There was reportedly a plan in 2014 to get a witness in a murder case to recant his testimony in order to free a convicted murderer. Brettschneider and his legal assistant, Charles Gallman, who had a rap sheet that included murder and robbery, set up the scheme in hopes of landing a wrongful conviction lawsuit.
As part of an investigation into their conduct, law enforcement observed Brettschneider pick up Gallman in his car, then pick up the witness. Gallman was later heard on a wiretap bragging about the witnesses’ recantation, describing it as “The best recantation I ever heard,” while Brettschneider called the fabricated wrongful conviction a “slam dunk” and “home run.”
Both men were allegedly heard on the wire tap plotting the scheme. They apparently had big money dreams of filing multimillion-dollar lawsuits based on innocence claims after orchestrating their client’s “exoneration.”
While he will be in federal court, Brettschneider won’t be appearing as an attorney but rather as a defendant. He has pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, Gallman pleaded guilty in July 2018 to bribing a witness and trying to coerce the victims in an unrelated firearms case.
Sources: justice.gov, themarshallproject.org, law.com