Updated 07/20/2012 07:22 PM
DOB Official Convicted Of Falsifying Inspections On Six Cranes
A Department of Buildings inspector was found guilty Friday of falsifying records on inspections on six different cranes, although he was acquitted of charges related to an inspection of a Manhattan crane that crashed and killed seven people in 2008. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
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Edward Marquette was expressionless as the judge delivered the verdict.
While he was found not guilty of falsely claiming he inspected the construction crane on the Upper East Side that collapsed 11 days later, killing seven people in 2008, he was convicted of falsifying inspections of six cranes on two other dates earlier that year. Those crimes are felonies.
Marquette was never blamed for the 2008 accident on East 51st Street, which cut a giant gash through a Midtown block and helped bring new crane safety regulations. New York City Department of Buildings records showed that Marquette had checked the crane days before the collapse but defense lawyer Andrew Freifeld admitted Marquette didn't do the inspection, saying he was a scapegoat covering for a superior. The collapse led to the departure of the City Buildings Commissioner.
The District Attorney argued that the tragedy exposed Marquette's dangerous behavior.
Using cellphone records and MetroCards, the judge said prosecutors were able to prove that Marquette had a pattern of documenting buildings he said he was inspecting when in fact, said the judge, he was nowhere near them.
Marquette's lawyer, Andrew Freifeld, promises an appeal.
"The guilty verdicts as to the felonies, I thought there was a chance we would have a misdemeanor conviction," he said. "I'm disappointed the judge found him guilty on the felonies."
In a statement, the Manhattan DA said, "By lying about inspecting cranes, the defendant put the safety of New Yorkers at risk."
Marquette could face four years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for October 1.