AP

Ex-detective on trial in perjury case that sank convictions

Jan 19, 2023, 3:34 AM | Updated: 6:03 pm

FILE - Former New York City Police Department Detective Joseph Franco, center, leaves Manhattan Sup...

FILE - Former New York City Police Department Detective Joseph Franco, center, leaves Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, April 24, 2019. The former New York City narcotics detective went on trial Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, on charges that he lied about witnessing drug deals...allegations that prompted the dismissals of hundreds of drug convictions. (Alec Tabak via AP, File)

(Alec Tabak via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A former New York City narcotics detective went on trial Thursday on charges that he lied about witnessing drug deals — allegations that prompted the dismissals of hundreds of drug convictions.

Prosecutors say video contradicted several of Joseph Franco’s claims to have seen illegal drug sales. His lawyer says the former detective might have muffed some details about where he saw the alleged transactions but didn’t deliberately lie, and the lawyer maintains the video doesn’t prove otherwise.

Franco worked for the New York Police Department from for about 20 years, until 2020. He was charged in Manhattan in 2019 with perjury and other offenses and has pleaded not guilty.

The charges involve a handful of cases, but the allegations prompted prosecutors in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx to disavow hundreds of convictions in cases involving Franco. The prosecutors didn’t say they had found evidence that he lied in those cases, but they said they couldn’t stand by his work.

In an opening statement at trial Thursday, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Samantha Dworken said some people ended up behind bars on convictions based on Franco’s alleged lies.

“This was not a mistake. It was a pattern,” Dworken said.

While some suspects did indeed sell or have drugs, “his lies were a poison that tainted any fair or legitimate case that could have been made against them,” she told jurors.

Franco’s attorney, Howard Tanner, said Franco was dedicated to trying to get drugs off the streets. He couldn’t take notes or make recordings while on surveillance and may have erred at times in recounting exactly where alleged drug took place, but “that still doesn’t make it a crime,” Tanner said.

“Joe’s on trial for doing his job,” Tanner said in his opening. He described the case as “second-guessing, Monday morning quarterbacking by an overzealous district attorney’s office.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

3 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

5 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

6 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

6 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

7 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

8 days ago

Ex-detective on trial in perjury case that sank convictions