The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

September 11, 2013

Judge won't yank DA from murder trial

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A judge has rejected a defense lawyer’s request to disqualify the Chenango County District Attorney’s office from handling the murder trial of Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran, reasoning it was “common knowledge” that a woman who hired an assistant prosecutor as her matrimonial attorney had an affair with the suspect.

In denying the request filed by defense lawyer F. Stanton Ackerman, Chenango County Judge Frank Revoir Jr. said the involvement of Assistant District Attorney Michael Ferrarese in briefly representing Eileen Sayles, the “acknowledged partner” of Ramsaran, has not unfairly disadvantaged the accused killer.

Ramsaran, 38, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the alleged Dec. 11 murder of his wife, Jennifer. In interviews with The Daily Star earlier this year, Ramsaran acknowledged he had an affair with Sayles, but vigorously denied that he killed his wife and denied that he concocted a cover story that she inexplicably went missing while on a shopping trip.

Ramsaran has said he and Sayles, then a close friend of his wife, began having an affair while the two were running partners, participating in long-distance foot races.

Jennifer Ramsaran, who was 36 years old when she went missing, has been described by acquaintances as a caring mother of three young children who had worked as a part-time caretaker for a stroke patient. She was allegedly killed inside the South New Berlin home she shared with her husband. Her body was discovered by the father of a sheriff’s deputy last February off a rural road in the town of Pharsalia.

Judge Revoir, in sum, ruled: “Adultery is a common motive for murder. This particular adultery is common knowledge, is known to the prosecution and to the defense and would be known to any special prosecutor who might be appointed should disqualification prevail.”

Of the conduct of the assistant district attorney, Revoir said: “Mr. Ferrarese’s representation of Ms. Sayles was not improper. ... Investigating the death of Jennifer Ramsaran was not improper.”

The ruling was a victory for District Attorney Joseph McBride, the lead prosecutor of Ganesh Ramsaran, who had argued that Ferrarese’s former representation of Sayles had not prejudiced the criminal case against the defendant.

Sayles said in a sworn affidavit filed with Ackerman’s motion that, in 2012, amid having “certain matrimonial problems” with her husband, Patrick Sayles, that she “did unfortunately participate in an extramarital affair” with Ramsaran and related this information to Ferrarese.

Eileen Sayles said her discussions with Ferrarese focused on her husband’s “concerns and complaints” that “I was constantly ‘talking too much about Remy’ and that I was ‘hanging around too much with Remy.’”

Ackerman, who has described Eileen Sayles as an important material witness in the case, said that he “understands the judge’s reasoning” in allowing McBride’s office to continue to have charge of the case. But he noted it is “a bit awkward” for an assistant prosecutor to have aided Sayles at a time she was having an affair with the man who would emerge as the prime suspect.

McBride said Revoir made the right call, contending Ferrarese’s representation of Eileen Sayles had “absolutely no impact on the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

Ganesh Ramsaran, a former project manager for IBM, is being held for lack of $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond at the Chenango County Correctional Facility. Authorities have not disclosed precisely how they believe Jennifer Ramsaran was murdered.