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2 Detectives Acquitted in Bribery Case

By JENNIFER 8. LEE - Published: June 27, 2006

Two veteran police detectives accused of taking bribes from a Chelsea street peddler last year were acquitted yesterday by a Manhattan jury, their lawyers said.

The detectives, Brian Bartlett, 39, and Rodney Lewis, 42, were among five officers from the 13th Precinct indicted on corruption charges in May 2005. The Manhattan district attorney's office said they had accepted goods -- including counterfeit handbags and sports jerseys -- from a peddler, Jamil Faied, in exchange for favors and information that let him protect his business at 27th Street and Broadway.

Detectives Bartlett and Lewis, whose trial began June 13 in State Supreme Court, were charged with third-degree bribe receiving and receiving an unlawful gratuity. The jury found them not guilty on all counts, the lawyers said.

At the trial, Eric Franz, a lawyer for Detective Lewis, said Mr. Faied had been a longtime police informant. ''We weren't on the take,'' Mr. Franz said. ''This is how you handle someone who helps police activity. They never did anything wrong.''

Prosecutors played a recording of Detective Lewis on the phone with Mr. Faied, agreeing to come get a fake North Face jacket, Mr. Franz said. But Detective Lewis never went, Mr. Franz said.

Detective Bartlett took the stand in his own defense, his lawyer said. ''The jury came to recognize his humanity and honesty,'' said the lawyer, Maurice Sercarz.

Of the other three officers, one, Jashua Penalo, 33, pleaded guilty to third-degree bribe receiving and was sentenced to three years' probation. Cases against the other two, George Santiago, 39, and Jaime Albertelli, 32, are pending.

Detectives Bartlett and Lewis have been on modified duty since their arrests. Detective Bartlett is going to try to get his old position back, and Detective Lewis and his family are leaving today for Disney World, their lawyers said.