The daughter of a judge accused in the Bess Myerson alimony-fixing case testified today that the former Miss America was worried about a grand jury investigation and urged her to “get our story straight” about the job Myerson had given her.
Sukhreet Gabel, 39, is the key prosecution witness in the federal bribery trial of Myerson, 64; her jailed boyfriend, Carl (Andy) Capasso, 43, and Gabel’s mother, retired state Supreme Court Justice Hortense Gabel, 75.
Sukhreet said Myerson told her that she could not be trusted and urged her to keep her mouth shut about the job Myerson had given her.
Judge Gabel handled Capasso’s 1983 divorce case and is accused of reducing support payments to Capasso’s ex-wife after Myerson gave Sukhreet a $19,000-a-year job in the city Department of Cultural Affairs.
In her fourth day on the witness stand, Gabel testified that in June, 1986, Myerson took her for a nearly 90-minute walk outside Gabel’s Upper East Side apartment and delivered a worried “monologue.”
“We went for a walk around the block and when I say around the block I mean around, around, around, around,” Gabel testified.
“Listen, I’m very worried,” Gabel quoted Myerson as saying. “You know that Andy’s been before the grand jury” over the alimony-fixing allegations.
“I’ve got to think we’ve got to get our story straight. The trouble with you, you remember too much,” Gabel said Myerson told her. “I forgot more than you ever, ever learned.”
Gabel recalled replying, “ ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh,’ not indicating I agreed or disagreed but that I heard her.”
The witness said Myerson asked her to describe “exactly how you came to become” a member of Myerson’s staff and, “What are you telling people about it?”
“ ‘Oh, I’d tell them it’s a great place. It’s got 35 employees and a budget of $1 million,’ ” Gabel said she replied enthusiastically.
“Miss Myerson said, ‘I can’t trust you. You’ve got to keep your mouth shut. You can be dangerous,’ ” Gabel testified.
“Miss Myerson (then) disappeared into the darkness from whence she came,” Gabel recalled.