- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) - A former Brooklyn prosecutor was convicted Tuesday of bribery and conspiracy in a gun-permit scandal after giving bribes including a diamond-studded watch to a former New York Police Department sergeant.

John Chambers, 63, of Manhattan, lowered and shook his head as guilty verdicts were announced by a jury forewoman in Manhattan federal court. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III set sentencing for Aug. 9.

The conviction came after an ex-NYPD police sergeant testified about lavish gifts he received from Chambers in exchange for speeding up the processing of gun licenses. Prosecutors said permits that normally would take 30 to 40 days to be granted sometimes would be issued within hours.

A lawyer for Chambers said his client was framed by the ex-sergeant.

Defense attorney Roger Stavis said he plans to appeal.



Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni told jurors during closing arguments Monday that meals, the watch, gift cards, cash and tickets to sports events, among other gifts, were not given as tokens of friendships, as the defense asserted.

“You do not get a pass on bribery because the person you are bribing is your friend,” Monteleoni said.

According to trial testimony, Chambers delivered bribes over much of the last decade to former NYPD Sgt. David Villanueva, 44, of Valley Stream, New York.

Villanueva has pleaded guilty to charges and cooperated with prosecutors in a bid for leniency.

He identified Chambers as one of four individuals who bribed him to speed up gun permit processing.

John Chambers, a former prosecutor, called himself a gun license ‘expediter,’” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a release. “What a unanimous jury concluded today was that his expediting amounted to little more than bribing his contacts in the NYPD’s License Division.”

Berman said Chambers sometimes helped individuals with criminal records circumvent a process designed to keep them from getting guns.

“The willingness of John Chambers to corrupt the gun License Division for his own benefit exposed the people of New York to unnecessary danger,” the prosecutor added.

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