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33° Good Morning
OpinionColumnistsLeonard Levitt

Collateral damage in federal NYPD probe

A former prostitute, an investigation and a cop reporter.

NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, left, exits a

NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, left, exits a federal courthouse in Manhattan after being arraigned on Monday, June 20, 2016. Deputy Inspector Grant was charged with accepting bribes in exchange for official acts. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Gabi Grecko, the former prostitute at the heart of the ongoing NYPD corruption scandal, has ensnared another victim. This time it’s not a cop.

It’s Shawn Cohen, the former New York Post police bureau chief, who in 2016 wrote in delicious detail how Grecko, dolled up in a flight attendant’s uniform, had been paid to have sex with cops on a 2013 private jet trip to Las Vegas.

What Cohen didn’t write was that he, himself, had an affair with Grecko.

“We had a short personal relationship that ended long before it was ‘exposed,’” he wrote in an email. Asked whether he had paid her for sex, he said in an email, “No, of course not.”

Grecko is expected to testify in the federal trial of now-retired Deputy Inspector James Grant, one of the cops with whom she allegedly had sex on the plane. The trip was arranged by Grant’s co-defendant, Jeremy Reichberg, a Brooklyn businessman, and by Reichberg’s former pal, Jona Rechnitz, a donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign. Both are accused of providing Grant with lavish gifts as they sought to ingratiate themselves with the NYPD’s brass.

In another email, Cohen explained that when his relationship with Grecko became known to “others” earlier last week, he notified the Post, which fired him. He declined to say who those “others” were or how they learned of his relationship with Grecko.

A crack reporter who since joining the Post in 2014 has had his share of exclusive stories, Cohen added in a telephone call: “I’ve been a reporter for 27 years and never had a blemish on my record.”

Generally, reporters don’t write about people with whom they’re personally involved, sexually or otherwise, unless they lay it out in the story. Media properties like the Post, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, sometimes operate under a different standard.

Back in the day when Murdoch hired Your Humble Servant as the Post’s investigative editor, he told me specifically: “You cannot break the law.” Anything less than that, such as phone-hacking — which in 2011 forced Murdoch to close his News of the World in London — was apparently acceptable.

Cohen declined to say what reason the Post gave for firing him. Unless we missed it, the newspaper has offered no public explanation.


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