Charles Testagrossa – NY State Bar # 1129485
Formerly Queens and Nassau County
Former Chief of Investigations for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office
Law professors filed a grievance regarding Charles Testagrossa’s egregious misconduct in People v. Bell, which he prosecuted on behalf of the Queens District Attorney’s Office (QDAO).
The Queens Supreme Court found that Testagrossa and his colleague Brad Leventhal suppressed exculpatory evidence, misled the trial court and other parties, and permitted perjured testimony to stand. The Court determined that Testagrossa knew of the evidence he did not disclose because the Court received his handwritten notes about the evidence.
“The prosecution”—that is, Leventhal and Testagrossa—“completely abdicated its truth-seeking role,” leaving the court with the “distinct impression… [of a] pattern of behavior that was calculated to deprive the defendants of fair trials, which is particularly egregious given that the death penalty was being sought against 19-year-old George Bell.”
Testagrossa’s misconduct led to the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of George Bell, Rohan Bolt, and Gary Johnson for 24 years.
Despite the findings of misconduct, the New York Attorney Detail Report lists “Disciplinary History: No record of public discipline” for Testagrossa at the time the professors filed this grievance. Instead, Testagrossa resigned from his position as the Chief of Investigations for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office after public outcry following the reversal of Bell, Bolt, and Johnson’s convictions.
Testagrossa’s misconduct in Queens was far from unique; serious misconduct at QDAO has been regularly reported for years.
Powerful positions require the highest accountability. We cannot reward prosecutors for breaking the rules.