BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
Ira Bernstein, the local podiatrist charged with a plot to kill his wife and assault two insurance investigators, was ordered to stand trial by Judge David Zuckerman. Jury selection for Bernstein will commence on January 9, 2017.
Bernstein is currently charged with three counts of conspiracy and three counts of criminal solicitation in connection with the alleged plot to kill his wife Susan Bernstein and also to have two insurance investigators investigating Bernstein’s billing practices beaten-up.
In ordering Bernstein’s trial, Judge David Zuckerman also ordered certain pre-trial hearings to be held immediately before jury selection. These hearings include an audibility hearing. The defendant is challenging the audibility of the wiretaps and recordings the District Attorney has supplied.
Assistant District Attorney Richard Kennison Moran had previously informed the court of approximately 1,700 recordings between Bernstein and his girlfriend and co-defendant Kelly Gribeluk in which they allegedly discussed the crimes and even negotiating the fee for the proposed accident that was meant to kill his wife. Bernstein wants a hearing to allow the court to determine the audibility of the recordings and the actual words allegedly on the recordings.
Judge Zuckerman will listen to the disputed recordings during the hearing and determine which recordings will be presented to the jury. Judge Zuckerman requested the District Attorney to prepare a proposed transcript of the recordings and to provide it at the hearing.
Judge Zuckerman also ordered Huntley and Dunaway hearings. These hearings are held to determine if statements made by the Defendant to police or law enforcement were voluntary and also to determine if the police had probable cause to detain and arrest the Defendant. These hearings are customary in most criminal cases. Judge Zuckerman also left the door open for other potential hearings based upon further documents and evidence to be exchanged between the District Attorney’s Office and defense counsel.
Kelly Gribeluk has already pled guilty in connection with the same indictment that charges Bernstein. Her sentencing is scheduled shortly before Bernstein’s trial date. If convicted of the conspiracy charges, Bernstein could face anywhere from one to 25 years in state prison.