Lloyd Constantine will tell you he’s a brilliant lawyer. He’ll tell you how he was responsible for Robert Abram’s success as Attorney General. He’ll tell you that as a plaintiff’s attorney he brought huge corporations to their knees in the court room. And he’ll tell you he was the legal brain behind Eliot Spitzer. He’s written books that make all these points.
But the brilliant lawyer is now at the center of a controversy in which he looks like a buffoon.
Constantine was on the jury in a case involving a cop who was accused of raping a woman. His presence on this jury became an issue when it became known that he was “a friend” of Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan DA who was prosecuting the case.
I put friend in quotes because, whenever you’re dealing with Constantine, you need to be skeptical of everything he says and does.
For example, Lloyd claims that Vance is a “wonderful friend,” but people close to the DA say this isn’t true. They say their boss distanced himself from Constantine a long time ago.
Lloyd also portrays himself as Spitzer’s best friend and mentor, but people close to Spitzer say this was Lloyd’s characterization. They say Spitzer won’t even talk to Constantine today because he feels betrayed by claims made in Constantine’s book. Abrams is said to have similar feelings about an earlier book written by Constantine.
Back to the case: Why would Constantine want to be on the jury in this case? Why would he conceal his supposed friendship with the DA during the jury selection process? Why would he risk a controversy, which any attorney could have predicted, involved with participating in a trial when you have a conflict?
Most commentators are viewing this as a simple case of hubris. And Constantine’s own comments certainly give credence to that view. In this regard, when Constantine was questioned by a judge about his failure to disclose his relationship with Vance, he said he didn’t perceive it to be a conflict at all. He said he applied his own “subjective test” and determined that it was ok to serve on the jury.
That’s arrogance, for sure. But I think something else might have been at work here.
The thing that nobody is focusing on is Constantine’s relationship with Richard Aborn, who lost a primary to Vance a few years back. Constantine and Aborn are partners and, presumably, have a friendship that is even more wonderful than Constantine and Vance.
To me this is a bigger conflict than having a personal relationship with the DA. Think about it: Would David Soares want the law partner of his past or present primary opponent sitting on the jury of a big case he was handling?
Of course not. At a minimum, Soares would be wondering whether the lawyer with ties to his opponent would be an especially critical juror.
And, apparently, that’s exactly what Constantine was in this trial. He was being extremely critical of the prosecution’s case. He was raising all kinds of questions about evidence and points of law -- so much so that other jurors began to complain that he was being disruptive.
Why was Constantine doing this? What was his gambit here?
Could it be that rather than helping Vance, Constantine meant to embarrass him and thereby help his partner Aborn, who is said to want to run again for DA?
Remember than Vance is perceived to have stumbled in some recent cases, including the Dominic Strauss-Kahn fiasco. With another mishandled case, he might be vulnerable?
Yeah, I know this is a creepy scenario. Maybe it’s far-fetched and maybe it is not. All I know for sure is that people who know Constantine well do not believe it was simple case of bad judgment on his part. They think he may well have been up to something.
So you have to ask yourself was Lloyd an evil genius or just a pompous ass? From what I’ve seen and read about Lloyd I don’t think he’s smart enough to be a genius. Like most of the limousine liberal, chardonnay sipping, tennis club dilettantes that surrounded Spitzer he’s just an ass.