“I knew my conduct was illegal,” Tara Lenich said Monday in Brooklyn federal court.
(PHOTO: JESSE WARD/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
An ex-Brooklyn prosecutor in an ill-fated love triangle broke down as she admitted Monday to snooping on another prosecutor and a married detective with bogus wiretap orders.
“I knew my conduct was illegal,” Tara Lenich said Monday in Brooklyn federal court, her voice going shaky while she fessed up to the forged judicial documents. “I’d just like to apologize and say I’m so sorry for my actions and for everyone that they affected.”
That’s when Lenich, 41, began to cry.
She needed a moment before she could continue with her guilty plea to the charges that derailed her high-flying position as deputy chief of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau.
The case was done even before it started.
Just last Monday, Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged Lenich with two counts of illegal interception of communications. Those were the same charges she copped to a week later.
Lenich turned the clout and reach of her office and the state court system into her gossipy go-between — allegedly to keep up on what was up with Detective Jarrett Lemieux and Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Rosenfeld.
She was arrested in her office and fired the same day in November 2016.
When the scandal broke, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office charged Lenich with offenses including criminal possession of a forged instrument. The state case was dismissed Friday.
“From the beginning, Ms. Lenich wanted to fully accept responsibility for her actions in this case,” Moe Fodeman, one of Lenich’s lawyers, said Monday.
On the books, Lenich is looking at up to five years on each count.
But during the plea proceedings before Judge William Kuntz, Fodeman pointed out that under the case’s circumstances, estimated guidelines could put any sentence between eight and 14 months. That time could be served under house arrest or at a halfway house, according to Fodeman.
“We take comfort in knowing Judge Kuntz will consider Ms. Lenich’s otherwise exemplary professional and personal life when she’s sentenced,” Fodeman said.
No sentencing date has been set for Lenich, whose law license looks to be on life support.
The Daily News first reported Lenich’s plan to give up the federal case last week.