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Former upstate NY prosecutor cleared of perjury, misconduct

September 25, 2020 GMT

TROY, N.Y. (AP) — A former prosecutor accused of withholding evidence from a grand jury that cleared a Troy police officer who fatally shot a man during a traffic stop has been acquitted of perjury and misconduct charges.

Former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove was acquitted by a state judge Thursday after a non-jury trial.

The Republican was accused of withholding evidence from a grand jury that cleared an officer who killed a man in April 2016. It was the first time a district attorney has faced charges following Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 executive order directing the state attorney general to intervene in cases of unarmed civilians killed by police.

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“I’ve maintained my innocence in this matter since the very first day,” Abelove said after his acquittal, according to the Times-Union of Albany. “I’ve never indicated at all that I did anything wrong because I believe I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The judge previously dismissed a criminal indictment against Abelove, saying the attorney general’s office lacked jurisdiction to prosecute.