Judge sentenced fraud trial witness to more time in jail in N.Y. - May 2007
County Judge Stephen W. Herrick this morning accused the central witness in a mammoth insurance fraud case of lying on the stand and creating a situation where the jury discredited everything he said.
While Herrick said he believed Willie Cook testified "substantially truthfully" over the course of the trial, he cited two lies he believes the man told. While tangential to the charges in the case, the lies he said still destroyed the jury's ability to take his testimony seriously.
"The relevance of this is that the jury believed that you were a liar," Herrick said, adding later, "All twelve of them totally discredited you."
The judge's statements came as Herrick was poised to sentence Cook according to a plea deal he struck months ago, agreeing to testify against several members of the Houghtaling family in exchange for the promise of no additional jail time.
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