The daughter of the judge accused in the alimony-fixing case of former Miss America Bess Myerson and her boyfriend said today that she was told not to ask questions about her mother’s involvement in the divorce proceedings.
Sukhreet Gabel, 39, testified about weekends she spent at the luxurious West Hampton, Long Island, home of Myerson’s boyfriend, Carl (Andy) Capasso, 43, while her mother, retired state Supreme Court Justice Hortense Gabel, 75, was reviewing his alimony settlement.
At the time, Sukhreet said she did not know her mother was presiding over the case.
Myerson, 64, is accused of giving Sukhreet a $19,000-a-year job in her cultural affairs office so that Judge Gabel would reduce Capasso’s support payments to his ex-wife, Nancy.
In her third day on the stand, Sukhreet Gabel sat with her hands folded as she described one such summer weekend in 1983 as the guest of Myerson and Capasso.
When she told her mother of the invitation, she said, the judge said, “I didn’t know Bess had a boyfriend.”
Later, in August, when she learned her mother was presiding over the case, she asked her father, Milton, a retired dentist and an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, “What the hell is going on?”
Sukhreet testified her father replied: “Never mind. Don’t get involved. Don’t get confused, just keep looking for a job. Your mother knows all about it. Keep your nose clean.”
When she confronted her mother, Sukhreet said, “I remember a very vague response on my mother’s part, perhaps a shrug of the shoulders, a sad expression in her voice.”
As she spoke she imitated her mother, unfolding and lifting her hands off the table as she gave a shrug of helplessness. No reaction could be detected in either the mother or father.
At one of the weekend visits to Capasso’s home, Sukhreet said Thursday, she accompanied Capasso and Myerson to a party, to which Myerson initially expressed doubts about bringing her but then told her to use her ex-husband’s last name.