After a judge ruled this week that the nearly five-year term should be reduced, a powerful New York jail union boss now serving a prison sentence in a corruption case is expected to be released before he has served half of it.
As a result of his federal conviction for accepting bribes to invest $20 million in union pension funds in a dangerous hedge fund, Norman Seabrook was initially given a 58-month prison term. It cost the union $19 million.
But, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ruled that Seabrook’s sentence is now unfair because a co-sentence defendant’s was reduced to just over a year as a result of an appeal.
According to Hellerstein’s ruling published on Thursday, there is currently an unfair discrepancy in the sentences given to the defendants. Hellerstein gave both defendants’ initial sentences.
The 63-year-old Seabrook has served for nearly 21 months. He is still held as Hellerstein postponed the decision for ten days while the prosecution decides whether to appeal.
On Saturday, the prosecution chose not to comment. The lawyer for Seabrook received a message.
During his two decades as president of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, Seabrook rose to political power and significantly impacted how the Rikers Island jail complex operated.
He earned up to $300,000 annually.
According to the prosecution, the union agreed to participate in the hedge fund in exchange for him accepting a $60,000 reward, presented in a designer handbag from Ferragamo. Seabrook claimed that he did nothing illegal and that the union made a terrible investment.
Seabrook was found guilty in 2018 following a mistrial in 2017, although he wasn’t required to surrender to prison until May 2021.
Murray Huberfeld, a co-defendant and a principal in the hedge fund, admitted to organizing the payoff in the meanwhile.
To achieve “approximate proportionality” between Huberfeld’s punishment and Seabrook’s, Hellerstein gave Huberfeld a 30-month term.
After that, Huberfeld successfully reduced his sentence to 13 months.
In light of that development, Hellerstein concluded that releasing Seabrook now “reflects the seriousness of Seabrook’s crime and lack of timely acceptance of responsibility while also remedying what would otherwise be an unjust sentencing disparity” between the defendants.