BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
The criminal case against the Rockland County Podiatrist alleged to have plotted with his paramour to kill his wife and also have two insurance investigators beaten up, continues to inch toward conclusion. Ira Bernstein was arrested in May along with his girlfriend Kelly Gribeluk, accused of trying to pay $100,000 to have Susan Bernstein killed through a staged car accident.
This week, Bernstein appeared in Rockland County Criminal Court for a Preliminary Conference. Although relatively brief, the Conference moved the case closer to conclusion. A Preliminary Conference is the first time Bernstein has appeared in Court since his arraignment. After a lengthy sidebar that consumed most of the Conference, the Court adjourned the matter to September 6, 2016 for a determination of readiness. A determination of readiness is a statement made by the prosecution that it is ready for trial and protects a Defendants constitutional “speedy trial” rights.
Although the Court appearance was relatively brief, the Court indicated that during the sidebar, several “issues” were raised by Defendant that will be contained in future motions to the Court. One of these issues is likely to be a request to sever the cases against Bernstein and Gribeluk. Currently, the allegations against both Defendants are contained in one indictment, which means the People are seeking one trial against both Defendants.
However, based upon remarks made by defense counsel, it is likely Bernstein will attempt to deflect blame for the allegations to his girlfriend, effectively throwing her under the bus. Prosecutor Richard Moran has indicated that the his office has turned over approximately 1,700 texts, e-mails and calls showing both Defendants conspired to have Susan Bernstein killed.
Bernstein remains free on bail of $600,000 while Gribeluk is jailed at the Rockland County Jail unable to raise the money needed for her bail. Gribeluk’s next Court appearance date is August 2, 2016.