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Opening arguments in trial of former DA Joel Abelove

Kumi Tucker
Updated: September 15, 2020 07:45 PM
Created: September 15, 2020 06:19 PM

TROY -- Former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove appeared before Judge Jonathan Nichols on charges of official misconduct and perjury. 

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Prosecutors say this case is not about whether the shooting was justified, but about what the former district attorney did in the grand jury room by not presenting some evidence and granting immunity. 

— Kumi (@KumiTuckerWNYT) September 15, 2020

Police shot and killed Edson Thevenin in Troy during a 2016 traffic stop. Just five days later, Abelove brought the case to a grand jury.

Prosecutors say he failed to present some evidence, and quickly cleared the officer despite the evidence raising obvious questions, giving the officer immunity when the investigation was just beginning. 

"Where instead of using the grand jury process to seek truth and promote justice, Joel Abelove exploited the grand jury process to hide the truth and pervert justice," said Jennifer Sommers, Deputy Chief of the Attorney General's Special Investigations and Prosecution Unit. 

Prominent attorney William Dreyer, representing Abelove, said the then-district attorney acted based on the evidence he saw, exactly as he was allowed to do. 

"And absent any other indication of some type of prejudice or collusion or fraud or corruption, which does not exist in this case, absent that, his discretion is broad and unimpeachable," said Dreyer. 

Thevenin's mother, Gertha Depas, was at court. She said it's time the truth comes out. 

"From this trial, we're going to see how far up the corruption goes," said Depas.  "Because with this trial, hopefully the cover up will reveal itself." 

Witness testimony, which is expected to include the former Troy police chief, begins Wednesday.  


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