NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A police lieutenant was convicted Wednesday of leaking information about a ticket-fixing investigation that embarrassed the New York Police Department.
Lt. Jennara Cobb was found guilty of divulging an eavesdropping warrant, official misconduct and obstruction of governmental administration.
She faces up to a year in jail when she is sentenced on Dec. 4.
Cobb, a member of the internal affairs bureau, has been placed on modified assignment by the department.
The case against Cobb and more than a dozen other officers was first announced in October 2011, sparking a debate over the informal practice of police officers squashing tickets as favors for friends and relatives. Prosecutors portrayed it as a pervasive form of corruption. Union leaders contended it was a harmless courtesy that never involved bribery.
Cobb’s case was the first to go to trial in state court in the Bronx. Prosecutors said she compromised the ticket-fixing investigation by warning another lieutenant and a police union representative delegate about the investigation during a 2010 conversation in a bar.
Prosecutors said that fed rumors that almost sabotaged the investigation by causing spooked union representatives and other targets to clam up and use different cellphones.
Cobb, 38, did not testify during her two-week, non-jury trial.
Louis Turco, president of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, indicated that the union would appeal the verdict.
The officer who sparked the ticket-fixing investigation, Jose Ramos, is currently on trial in the Bronx, charged with attempted grand larceny, attempted robbery, official misconduct and attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance. Ramos also faces five other separate indictments for crimes ranging from conspiracy to commit murder to official misconduct for the actual alleged ticket fixing.
Prosecutors say Ramos turned his two Bronx barbershops into a front for drug dealing, robbery and stolen goods.
They say Ramos tried to arrange a contract killing from behind bars where he was awaiting trial on drug-running charges
It was while investigators were looking into Ramos in 2009 that they heard calls from people seeing if he could fix tickets for them, they said. That led to more wiretaps that produced evidence of additional officers having similar conversations.
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