Councilman Dennis Gallagher will return to a Queens court on January 24, when Supreme Court Justice Sheri Roman is expected to decide whether she will toss out the rape charge against him.
Lawyers for the Middle Village Republican bought extra time to challenge the rape and assault indictment pending against him. The charges stem from an encounter Gallagher had on July 8, when a 52-year old woman says he raped and sexually assaulted her in his campaign office after the pair met at a neighborhood bar. The defense team maintains the grand jury proceedings were marred by prosecutorial misconduct by investigators from District Attorney Richard Brown's office.
Additionally, attorneys for the embattled politician have reportedly cited the extramarital dalliances of former mayor Rudy Giuliani in an effort to explain away Gallagher's actions. "Current reports [suggest] the former mayor of New York had subsidized trysts in the Hamptons at pubic expense," lawyers for Gallagher argued in legal papers filed in court. "History therefore teaches that human beings certainly commit stupid, sometimes self-destructive ‒ even if not criminal ‒ acts, the papers say.
Gallagher, who could face 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges, maintains the sex was consensual. Inside sources say that prosecutors grilled Gallagher about his role as a public official and about his marriage in order to establish the elected official's character, and the long-standing pattern of behavior that may support the allegations pending against him.
Theories by the prosecutors about Gallagher's behavior patterns may well be right on the money, the Forum West has learned. The newspaper was recently approached by a woman who was anxious to talk about her experience with Gallagher. She first presented her story in the form of a letter-to-the-editor, but was willing to provide additional information for this story under the condition her identity was not revealed. "It is interesting to see just how many women have come forward to let authorities know they too have been preyed upon by Gallagher," said the woman, "Ginger". About 18 months ago, she was meeting a group of girlfriends at a local Italian restaurant. "One of my friends and I were there a little early, so we decided to wait at the bar and have a drink," Ginger explained. "While sitting there we were approached by Dennis Gallagher."
While she had never met the councilman before, Ginger says she knew exactly who he was from seeing his face on so much campaign literature and in local newspapers. The councilman offered to buy them a round of drinks, which the women declined, said Ginger.
What happened next is a true indicator of Councilman Gallagher's character, in Ginger's estimation, as he then asked, "So what are your stories?"
Said Ginger, "The two of us just looked at each other, amazed at his brazen remark. We both knew exactly what he meant. He had this disgusting smirk on his face and he pressed himself between us. Even if he hadn't said a word, his body language was more than enough to spell out a clear picture," she said.
Despite the women's cold response, Ginger said the councilman continued with the awkward conversation. "Maybe the both of you would like to get together one night?" she says Gallagher then asked. Ginger responded that she is "happily married with two teenage children," and told Gallagher she knew he is married with children. She said that his answer turned her stomach. "Yes, so what? My wife knows I cheat, and she's OK with it. What's the big deal?" she said the councilman replied.
At that point, said Ginger, a tall slender man who Gallagher called "Jake" walked up to the councilman. The men exchanged whispers, as the women hoped the uncomfortable encounter would end.
Gallagher returned to the bar and told the women he was going to his table. "Then he gave us a real profile of his character," said Ginger. "I have to go 'schmooze' this woman from the Department of Education that I need to get one of my family members a job," the councilman allegedly said, before grinning and walking away.
The rest of Ginger's dinner party arrived, and they were finally shown to a table. "I was so grateful to get away from him, but I was also surprised a public official would put himself out there like that," she said. "It was like he didn't care. Not about his wife, his kids, his position ‒ nothing. It didn't stop with sexual innuendos and advances, it continued right [to the point of] telling two virtual strangers that he was leaving the bar to go and abuse his role as a city official in order to get his family members a job."
Inside sources say that prosecutors have a long list of women with similar stories to tell of Gallagher. In two weeks, however, it will be the judge who decides how much of the story will come to light.
Calls to the office of Councilmember Gallagher for comment were not returned.
Gallagher should go ‒ now
Forum West editorial 1/10/08
Unfortunately, none of us are strangers to the disappointments of campaign promises made and broken. Fortunately, however, most of us are strangers to the broken promises, of almost demonic proportions, of the "credo of American family values" touted by City Councilman Dennis Gallagher when he sought to represent the people of Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, parts of Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Forest Hills back in 2001.
Now, seven years later, the people of the 30th Council District have been shown quite a different portrait of the man they chose as their voice in city government. In less than two weeks, the former investigator for the State of New York Crime Victims Board will appear as a defendant before the Queens Supreme Court to answer an indictment by a grand jury for the alleged rape and sexual assault of a 52-year old woman in July of 2007.
There have been calls by Gallagher's defense team to drop the charges on the basis that grand jury proceedings were marred by prosecutorial misconduct. The irony, audacity, if you will, of those claims, come from a team of defense attorneys who represent someone who has, whether convicted or not, displayed the highest level of misconduct at the expense of his constituency that one can imagine.
In a campaign piece distributed by Gallagher in 2001, the subject of which was "family values", the candidate goes on about commitment to family, neighbors and community, in almost puritanical tones. He lauds hard work, honesty and calls education the great equalizer of our society. He describes the great values he learned from his parents and vows never to forget them.
On July 8, when he admits to having sex he says is consensual with a woman in the campaign office above his district office, Dennis Gallagher delivered a gut-wrenching blow to his "perfect family value model", and to every one of his constituents. He is a man who now stands in the rubble of moral bankruptcy and a political and personal future that has, as many see it, no value at all.
We have no doubt that 'justice' could enter the courtroom on January 24 wearing a blindfold and see clearly that none of the charges against Dennis Gallagher should be dropped.
Dennis Gallagher has been privileged to be a member of the New York State Senate Veterans Advisory Council and the New York State Senate Consumer Protection Advisory Board. He has been honored by the Juniper Park Civic Association, the Trailblazer District of the Boy Scouts of America, the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corp., the Fire Department of the City of New York, the Ridgewood Communicare Health Center, St. Aloysius Spartus Sports Program, Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, Richmond Hill Block Association, St. Pancras Sports Association, I.S. 93, P.S. 49, Queens Multiservice Senior Center, Catalpa YMCA and the Blau-Weiss Gotschee Club, Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, Special Olympics, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal School and Maspeth Town Hall. We think that he should relieve these people, who held him in such high regard, of the humiliation he has caused them and step away from the pile of garbage that is now his political career, and in our eyes, his personal reputation.