This accusation came as part of a brief on a motion for a new trial, after a bookkeeper came forward to testify that the transaction at the center of the convictions was not made by Rabbi Eisemann, and it was not a criminal action.
The two guilty verdicts were for financial facilitation, while being in the capacity of a corporate official. Financial facilitation is when the proceeds of one crime is used to promote another crime. At the trial, Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo pointed to a 12-day loan from the school as the first alleged criminal act (it remains unclear how a 12-day loan is legally considered criminal), and he claimed that the return was doubled to write off a second loan that was allegedly owed to the school’s foundation. At the time, the prosecution never factually established that a loan to the foundation ever existed, and never provided bank records or any concrete proof to the existence of the loan. Rather, Nicodemo showed the jury a QuickBooks log that was interpreted to be a loan account, and he pointed to an entry in that log and insisted it was an attempt to erase a debt. Eisemann’s lawyers noted in their motion for a new trial that this speculation is in direct contradiction to unchallenged audits submitted to the Attorney General’s commerce department, which clearly show that there was never any debt owed to the foundation.
On November 16, a court hearing was held regarding the motion for a new trial due to new evidence, after the bookkeeper who made the transaction in question came forth to testify that it was a standard bookkeeping entry, not an attempt to erase a debt, and it was done without the knowledge of Rabbi Eisemann. The court ordered an evidentiary hearing, which is scheduled for March 15 – the week of Purim, in order to hear the testimony in person and to determine whether or not to toss the convictions.
In the new brief, the defense reveals that it has now come to light that in their quest to eke out a guilty verdict, the prosecutors withheld crucial evidence from the defense and jury – a blatant violation of the Brady Act, which mandates the prosecution to share all helpful evidence with the defense. During the trial, Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo repeatedly indicated to the jury that it must have been Rabbi Eisemann who was responsible for the supposed write-off, and he pressed the jury to return a guilty verdict based on this speculation. Now, the defense writes, it was shockingly revealed that the prosecution had a document – at the time of the trial – that showed who was the one who made the entry, and that it was not Rabbi Eisemann – yet they didn’t release that document until almost two years later.
In the brief, Rabbi Eisemann’s lawyers accuse the prosecution, led by Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo, of violating the Brady Act, something that alone could be grounds for having the convictions tossed. Additionally, they argued, the only reason the defense was not able to bring the actual person who made the transaction to the witness stand is because the prosecution didn’t reveal the person’s identity. Had they known who the person was, they would’ve called them to testify at trial, and the entire case would’ve fallen apart in front of the jury’s eyes.
They also explain in the brief that they were not able to track down the person on their own, because the prosecutors refused to specify which transaction was the alleged criminal activity to complete the financial facilitation charge until after the trial began! Meaning, that until the trial, they merely listed the charges, such as “financial facilitation,” but despite being asked to clarify numerous times, they did not tell the defense which entry was the alleged second criminal activity for financial facilitation until the second day of the trial. At that point, in the heat of the trial, it would’ve been almost impossible for the defense to start tracking down the person and getting them to testify.
What is perhaps even more shocking, they say, is that although the prosecutors knew who made the entry, they never contacted them to question them about the entry or to bring them to the witness stand. They could’ve easily learned the real story, and that no debt ever existed, yet they chose to instead speculate to something that was completely not backed up by the record.
With the blatant Brady violation and the new testimony proving that no crime was ever done, the defense asserts in the brief that the convictions must be completely overturned.
The defense also asked the court to grant them subpoena powers, so that they can obtain additional documents and testimony to help their case.
Although the proceedings on the case have been ongoing for nearly three years, public support from the community remains steadfast. Rabbi Eisemann has always been a pillar of the Special Needs community in New Jersey and a revered member of the Lakewood community, and tens of thousands throughout the state are appalled by the blatant injustice displayed in this case. They continue to hope and pray that justice will prevail, and that this selfless man will be able to continue his vital work without hindrance.
An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for March 15, the 12th of Adar Bais – just a few days before Purim. At the hearing, the new testimony will be presented, and the judge will then determine if the guilty verdict should be dismissed.
Please continue to have in mind Osher ben Chana Frumet in your tefillos.