BINGHAMTON, NY – (WIVT/WBGH) A Broome County Court Judge has thrown out the charges against one of 3 men charged in the Colonial rape case.
Judge Carol Cocchiola threw out two charges for rape and sexual abuse against Leor Kweller of Brooklyn.
Kweller and his brother Yaron “Ron” Kweller and Jordan Rindgen were indicted by a Broome County grand jury on charges related to sexually assaulting 2 women in the early morning hours of November 27, 2021.
Ron Kweller and Rindgen were part-owners in the Colonial, a popular restaurant and bar in downtown Binghamton that was forced to shut down due to public outrage and protests following publication of the allegations on social media.
Ron Kweller was also indicted for rape and criminal sexual act while Rindgen was indicted on 8 counts related to supplying cocaine to the women and facilitating the sex crimes.
The crimes were alleged to have occurred in the basement of 141 Washington Street which houses Ron Kweller’s real estate development company Rent Bing.
The charges against Ron Kweller and Rindgen are still pending, however, Cocchiola is expected to issue a ruling on their cases next week.
All 3 men have maintained their innocence from the beginning and their attorneys filed a motion in February seeking dismissal of the charges due to a lack of evidence.
The attorneys cited, among other things, text messages from the alleged victims that could be construed to indicate that the sex was consensual and that the women were seeking hush money.
The Broome County District Attorney’s Office pushed back hard on that interpretation, arguing that the texts were taken out of context, and that there is substantial evidence showing that the women felt trapped and intimidated.
District Attorney Mike Korchak tells NewsChannel 34 that his office is reviewing the judge’s decision and he will confer with his appellate attorneys before deciding how to proceed.
Korchak says they can appeal Cocchiola’s ruling or present a new case to a grand jury.
He says his office continues to stand behind the alleged victims.
Leor Kweller’s defense team of Andrea Zellan of Brafman & Associates. PC and Elena Fast of Fast Law, PC. issued the following statement regarding the judge’s ruling:
“Justice triumphed on May 31, 2023 as Hon. Judge Carol Cocchiola of Broome County Court dismissed all charges against Leor Kweller. From day one, Mr. Kweller has adamantly denied the allegations and maintained his innocence. The charges against our client were initiated before a thorough investigation was finished, and should never have been filed. The unrelenting and thorough defense investigation confirmed that our client was legally and factually innocent. As we have argued in the Defense Omnibus Motion, the law, facts, truth and justice required a complete dismissal of all charges. We are immensely grateful that the Court carefully reviewed the law and the facts and prevented a miscarriage of justice. The Defense team included Elena Fast and Michael Perkins of The Fast Law Firm, P.C. Andrea Zellan of Brafman & Associates, P.C., and Herman Weisberg of Sage Intelligence.”