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Judge to investigate alleged secret meeting during murder trial

Judge to investigate alleged secret meeting during murder trial

Kingston Gregory Thayer, 51, was given a 25-year prison term for shooting and killing Bruce Swierc, his best friend, in the Town of Ulster in September 2021. Because of a covert meeting between his co-counsel and Judge Bryan Rounds’ clerk in Ulster County Court, where Thayer was facing a bench trial, Thayer is alleging he was not given a fair trial.

Andrew Kossover, Thayer’s co-counsel in the murder trial, claims to have spoken with William Ghee, the clerk for Judge Rounds, who informed Ghee that the judge would prefer the defense to claim that Thayer shot his friend in the head due to an acute emotional disturbance. As per Kossover’s signed affidavit, Ghee bound Kossover to such secrecy that he was unable to share the meeting with Thayer’s primary counsel, Robert Gottlieb.

According to claims made in the appeal submitted by Thayer’s new legal representative, Joel Rudin, Ghee, the clerk who is charged with holding the covert meeting, provided support to Emmanuel Nneji, the prosecutor in the case and current Ulster County District Attorney.

From his Albany County seat, Acting Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough has requested an evidentiary hearing to ascertain whether or not there were any irregularities during Thayer’s trial. Among other things, the hearing will decide whether Thayer’s rights under the US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment were violated by the covert meeting to the point where a new trial is necessary.


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