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July 23, 2013

Ramsaran attorney: DA's office has conflict

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — An attorney for accused murderer Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran is seeking to disqualify the Chenango County District Attorney’s office from prosecuting the case because one of its staffers handled a matrimonial matter for a woman with whom the jailed suspect was having an affair last year, according to court papers.

The Albany lawyer, F. Stanton Ackerman, states in a motion filed in Chenango County Court that Michael Ferraresse, an assistant Chenango district attorney has assisted in the investigation into the murder of Ramsaran’s wife, Jennifer Ramsaran.

Several months earlier, the papers note, Ferraresse had been retained by Eileen Sayles of Norwich to assist her on matrimonial issues, and became aware that she had an extra-marital affair with Ganesh Ramsaran, now 38 years old.

This situation, Ackerman argued, amounts to “a serious conflict of interest” which has “prejudiced the rights of the accused.”

The court papers filed by Ackerman also state that Sayles is a material witness in the homicide case.

Ackerman also contends in his papers that Ganesh Ramsaran and Sayles became the “two targets” of law enforcement after Ganesh Ramsaran reported his wife missing to police the night of Dec. 11.

However, Ganesh Ramsaran has been the only person charged in connection with the murder, which Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride has stated took place Dec. 11 at the home Ganesh Ramsaran shared with his wife and three children.

Authorities have declined to state precisely how they believe Jennifer Ramsaran was killed.

Ackerman also wrote that his client, based on numerous meetings he had with police officials during the investigation into his wife’s disappearance, concluded that the detectives “were focusing not only on the defendant’s alleged conduct but also the conduct of his mistress, Eileen Sayles.”

Contacted by The Daily Star, McBride stated that he is prepared to oppose Ackerman’s effort to have his office disqualified from prosecuting Ganesh Ramsaran.

“If you read the law, the standard is not there,” McBride said. “But I don’t want to try it in the press. I’ll just say that we’re filing papers in opposition to the motion”

If Ackerman prevails in his argument, a special prosecutor from outside Chenango County would have to be appointed.

Ramsaran, who had been employed as a work-at-home project manager for IBM, is being held at Chenango County Correctional Facility for lack of $1 million property bail or $500,000 cash bail. The couple’s three children are staying with relatives of Jennifer Ramsaran, according to family acquaintances.

A telephone number listed in the name of Eileen Sayles’ husband was disconnected, and a request for comment to her Facebook account — she began using her maiden name, Eileen Barry, on her page earlier this year — did not generate a response.

Ackerman stated that Eileen Sayles had retained Ferraresse for legal services in his capacity as a lawyer in private practice, “several months prior to the disappearance of Jennifer Ramsaran.”

Noting that the district attorney’s office alleges the murder took place Dec. 11, Ackerman wrote that “Eileen Sayles plays a most significant role in the chronology of events that day, because of her ongoing relationship with the accused; furthermore, she unquestionably must testify in the forthcoming trial.”

Ackerman emphasized in his motion papers that he was not questioning the ethical conduct of anyone in the district attorney’s office, noting, instead, that there are “very serious issues” that should be addressed by the court.

A native of the Netherlands who was raised in the Yonkers area, Ganesh Ramsaran has said he and his wife began dating while both were students enrolled at the State University at New Paltz. Jennifer Ramsaran was a native of the Albany suburb of East Greenbush. Her parents, Carol and Thomas Renz, also have a home in South New Berlin

In an interview with The Daily Star in late January, Ganesh Ramsaran said he had no involvement with his wife’s disappearance, and maintained the fact he was having an affair with one of her closest friends was irrelevant to the investigation.

Jennifer Ramsaran’s unclothed body was located Feb. 26 off Center Road in the town of Pharsalia. Ganesh Ramsaran told investigators he located his wife’s cell phone, using GPS technology, Dec. 12 near state Route 23 and Moon Hill Road in the town of Plymouth. He had told police the previous evening that he last saw his wife when she left the home to go Christmas shopping at a mall just outside Syracuse.