Ex-Eastern District prosecutor Maloney mourned in Brooklyn

August 17, 2022 Raanan Geberer
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The New York legal community on Wednesday mourned the death of former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Andrew J. Maloney, who prosecuted mob boss John Gotti, Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, Brooklyn Democratic political boss Meade Esposito and other high-profile defendants in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

“Our office mourns the passing of Andrew J. Maloney, who nobly served as the 33rd United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York with a passion for doing justice, a toughness honed as a boxer at West Point and Army Ranger, and supreme confidence in his prosecutors that resulted in amazing work during his tenure,” said current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace.

“The generation of attorneys who became great prosecutors under Andy’s influence and leaders in the legal community are too numerous to name, but they too are his legacy. We thank him for his service and immense contribution to making the Eastern District of New York the gold standard for prosecution offices in the United States,” Peace added.

Former U.S. Attorney for EDNY, Andrew Maloney. Wikimedia photo by Duke Maloney

Maloney was born in Greenpoint in 1931 and graduated from Brooklyn’s Bishop Loughlin High School and then West Point. He served as an Army Ranger, then went to Fordham Law School at night. Until he was appointed as U.S. attorney in 1986 on the recommendation of U.S. Sen. Alphonse D’Amato, he was a partner in the firm of Maloney & Kelly.

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The Eastern District’s most celebrated prosecution during Maloney’s era was undoubtedly that of Gotti and several other mobsters in 1992. Maloney and another prosecutor, John Gleeson, now a judge, played tapes in which Gotti discussed Gambino crime family business, including murders he approved.

John Gotti leaves his Howard Beach home in 1987 to visit the grave of his son. Gotti was acquitted of federal charges that year, but wasn’t so lucky five years later. AP Photo/David Bookstaver

During the trial, supporters of Gotti, at times led by Gotti’s attorney, held several noisy rallies, and one youthful supporter penned a “Gotti rap.” Gotti was found guilty on all charges of the indictment. Up until that time, Gotti was known as the “Teflon don” because he managed to evade all charges.

Soon after the Gotti trial, Maloney resigned from his post and joined a private law firm.

As for Esposito, he and Bronx political Democratic Congressmember Mario Biaggi were arrested in the late 1980s after Esposito was recorded on tape, bragging that he had “made” 42 judges in Brooklyn. Esposito eventually received a suspended sentence, was fined $600,000 and was made to perform community service.

Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellin drug cartel, was among the many high-profile defendants prosecuted by the Eastern District of New York under Andrew Maloney’s leadership. AP photo

Maloney died Monday, only five weeks after his wife, Eleanor, passed away after 65 years of marriage. He is also survived by six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his criminal prosecutions, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1992 that “Maloney’s office also prosecuted the Beech-Nut Corp. for selling fake apple juice for babies, the Hertz Corp. for overcharging customers involved in accidents and Eastern Airlines for falsifying maintenance and safety records.”

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