New court papers detail the conversation between a Brooklyn businessman accused of bribing cops for expedited gun permits and the feds who busted him.
FBI agents must “have something really amazing going” to have shown up at his home, Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein told them, according the court papers.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office has accused Lichtenstein, 44, of giving cops up to $6,000 per gun license to speed up the permitting process.
Lichtenstein pushed last week for a Manhattan Federal Court judge to toss evidence against him that was collected the morning of his April arrest saying cops didn’t have a warrant and didn’t recite Miranda rights.
Lichtenstein’s lawyer has also argued his client was drunk while chatting with cops impacting his mental wherewithal.
Bharara’s office hit back with its counter-argument earlier this week, claiming Lichtenstein happily chatted with them and claim surveillance of their interview shows they did everything by the books.
That morning, Lichtenstein watched on a security feed as cops rolled up on his home office around 7 a.m., later telling his wife in front of feds he “saw them on the camera coming, and I ran out.
I told them to come in, I didn’t want them to wake you.”
“He asked the agents if they would move the cars to the driveway so that the neighbors would not see,” court papers state. “Lichtenstein stated, in substance, that the agents could all remain in his house if they moved the cars into the driveway.”
They agreed to move their cars, and “Lichtenstein then sat down at his desk, smoking a cigarette,” the court papers say.
During the two-hour interview, “Lichtenstein admitted to charging clients to process gun applications” but swore he didn’t give anything to cops — except for a menorah gifted to an officer’s mother-in-law, according to court papers.
While in his house, they took a police badge from his office as “evidence in their investigation into Lichtenstein’s dealings with the Licensing Division,” court papers say.
They also confiscated Lichtenstein’s firearms and Lichtenstein “even offered the agents a bag to carry out the guns,” prosecutors say.
Cops didn’t restrain him — and the fact that feds let him booze and light up shows he was comfortable, prosecutors say.
“Lichtenstein walked around the office on multiple occasions, showing the agents gifts he gave to the police, turning on the air conditioning, and walking from his desk to the other side of the room to get a plastic bag that appeared to contain alcohol,” the court papers, filed earlier this week, maintain.
“Also during the interview, Lichtenstein opened his desk drawer to retrieve his phone charger, he used his desk phone to call his wife, and even used his computer.”
Lichtenstein’s wife walked into the room at one point and said “It’s such an honor to have his guests here,” the court papers say.
“I know,” Lichtenstein allegedly responded. “Why would [the FBI] come into my house unless they have something really amazing going.”
After they told Lichtenstein he would be arrested, he asked for a few minutes and they agreed.
“He fed pets that were in a glass cage, and he walked around the office” and took a few more minutes to talk to his wife, telling cops “I really appreciate the courtesy.”
They also agreed not to handcuff him until he was inside the car.