August 26, 2023 | 8:09 a.m
Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and Martha Ming
Former special counsel to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has been fired for blowing the whistle on “flagrantly unconstitutional misconduct” by prosecutors in the office, he claims in a new lawsuit against his former boss.
Kamphis (Cam) Perez, who began his tenure with the Brooklyn district attorney in 2019 by advising Gonzalez on immigration issues, alleges that the district attorney fired him after he raised concerns that the office withheld exculpatory evidence from two of the defendants who ended up in prison.
One of them was convicted of burglary as a felony sexually motivated charge and attempted rape. The other was convicted of menace and attempted murder.
“When I found evidence within the Kings County Prosecution Service that two innocent men might be in jail, I reported it to my superiors because it was my moral and ethical duty to do so. I was devastated when I learned that this action would cost me my job,” Perez told The Washington Post. “.
Perez, 40, immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a child, and previously worked as a lawyer for the US Department of Homeland Security. Professional actor who appeared in the TV series The Blacklist (2013), By Any Means (2017)And Rami (2019).
The lawsuit against Gonzalez, his assistant Maritza Meng, and other DA employees was filed last week in Brooklyn federal court. She claims Perez was “shocked” by the reason Ming gave for his dismissal: “inconsistencies in his time cards”. Perez was stopped and escorted from the premises on May 24, 2022, and terminated on July 6. He denies any wrongdoing.
Attorney General officials refused to identify any problems with Perez’s schedule prior to his firing, but Meng and one of his colleagues told Perez that the district attorney’s office “cannot have an attorney bill the city for work they don’t do,” according to court papers.
Meng is also quoted in the lawsuit as telling Perez that “falsifying business records with intent to defraud is a class 1 felony — one that can result in up to four years in prison.“
A source familiar with the situation confirmed that Meng had checked Perez’s timekeeping records, but gave no evidence of anything that should have raised concerns. He said Perez’s schedules are always approved by his supervisor.
“Many factors contributed to the employee’s termination for cause. His claims are unfounded and will be taken up in court,” said Brooklyn spokeswoman Helen Peterson.
The Washington Post reported last month that for years Meng herself had neglected to provide her schedules, thus failing to account for her leave. This means that she could have been paid for working while she was on vacation, and the vacation would have accumulated. A spokesperson for the DA said its schedules have been reviewed and “any deficiencies will be corrected”.
Sources said that Ming submitted missing timelines “en masse”.
Peterson did not comment on “outstanding personal matters.”
Whenever Ming wanted an excuse to fire someone, she would order the detectives to swipe their access cards, then look for any discrepancies in their monthly schedules, the DA insider told The Post.
Perez’s suit comes after former Brooklyn assistant Joshua Zuckerman won an $85,000 settlement from the city. He alleged that Gonzalez fired him in retaliation for criticizing the office’s COVID response team led by Meng. His termination turned into a resignation.
“I am disturbed – but, unfortunately, not surprised – to hear that others within the office have also been subjected to abuse and retaliation by the same executives,” Perez said. “Filing a lawsuit is always a last resort, but I hope this case will highlight the urgent need for reform within the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.”
Well-informed sources told The Post that Meng – who the office says was on “approved leave”, although she continued to be paid – had been repeatedly warned by the attorney general’s human resources department that her actions could lead to a lawsuit. lawsuit against the agency.
She was quoted as saying, “Oh, well, let them sue me.”