Disgraced former NYPD police sergeant David Villanueva, who pled guilty to charges of accepting bribes while working at the NYPD License Division in a major New York City scandal, testified under oath that he scored a gun permit for Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter, according to a report from the New York Daily News. Villanueva didn't work with Perlmutter directly instead testifying that he spoke with Perlmutter's assistant, Marisol Garcia, who he described as a friend. Villaneuva testifies that he went to a total of six Marvel movie premieres.
Perlmutter, a reclusive billionaire who avoided public attention until the 2016 election of his close friend, President Donald Trump, is well known for carrying a gun, a normally difficult privilege to score under the highly-restrictive gun laws of New York City. But Perlmutter is no stranger to wielding political power, having donated millions to Trump's campaign and serving as an unofficial advisor to Trump on matters of healthcare at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he has been accused of secretly running the entire show. But he's no stranger to being involved in salacious legal scandals either.
Garcia has previously been implicated as part of the bizarre ongoing legal feud between Perlmutter and fellow billionaire Harold Peerenboom over stewardship of a tennis club in their Palm Beach, Florida community. Peerenboom has accused Perlmutter of sending hate mail to neighbors and prison inmates smearing Peerenboom as a pedophile and anti-semite. Perlmutter has admitted distributing negative newspaper clippings about Peerenboom to friends and neighbors but denies the more salacious hate mail campaign, instead attributing it to a false flag operation executed by a former Peerenboom employee, who has denied it. Perlmutter has accused Peerenboom of stealing his DNA, while Peerenboom accused Perlmutter of using Marvel resources to execute the alleged hate mail scheme, which is where Garcia allegedly came into the picture along with another Marvel employee, Robert Grosser, accused of helping Perlmutter investigate Peerenboom. They both denied the charges. Perlmutter has also been accused of using Marvel lawyer John Turitzin to lobby Florida government officials about Peerenboom. Peerenboom demanded Marvel hand over Perlmutter's corporate emails, but a court ruled to protect them. The whole affair was expected to go to trial this Fall, but it hasn't started yet.
You know. Totally normal billionaire stuff.
Villaneuva wasn't the one on trial, instead taking the witness stand in the trial of businessman Jeremy Reichberg, who is accused of teaming up with high-ranking police official, Deputy Inspector James Grant, to accept monetary and other bribes in exchange for police favors. Another alleged co-conspirator, Jona Rechnitz, is not a defendant in the trial and is believed to be cooperating with federal agents. Neither Perlmutter nor Garcia are connected directly to the scandal. Villaneuva's testimony was the result of questions from Grant's lawyers attempting to prove that other celebrities and ultra-rich people received special treatment at the department as well.
In addition to the movie premiere tickets, Villaneuva testified that other persons receiving special treatment from the NYPD gifted Villaneuva and other police officers with expensive dinners, vacations, and prostitutes. Villaneuva previously pled guilty to accepting bribes along with several other police officers and has been working with the feds. An ex-prosecutor from Brooklyn, John Chambers, was found guilty of trading expensive gifts to Villaneuva back in April. Another high-ranking police official, ex-Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, was sentenced in June to two years of probation plus community service for his involvement in the scandal, which first broke in 2016.