Sean Bell judge 'resents' media invasion
BY NICOLE BODE DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, April 29th 2008, 4:00 AM
The Queens judge who cleared the Sean Bell cops unleashed his fury Monday on those who violated his privacy after the verdict.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman - whose decision last Friday brought him international headlines as well as the praise of police supporters and the scorn of the Bell family - lambasted reporters who descended on his neighborhood over the weekend.
"I resented the fact that people came to my home on the weekend, bothering my neighbors; I'm really very upset about that," an irate Cooperman said by phone from his chambers in the Kew Gardens courthouse.
"I haven't accused anyone falsely; I did not spend $4,000 on prostitutes," Cooperman added, in an apparent reference to the media blitz that surrounded disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. "That's not journalism."
The 74-year-old judge, who decided the verdict without a jury at the defendants' request, has declined multiple interview requests since the verdict.
In explaining his verdict in court Friday, Cooperman criticized the testimony of shooting survivors Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, along with other prosecution witnesses, saying their "credibility was seriously impeached."
The judge cited the witnesses' criminal convictions, motive to lie and demeanor on the witness stand, apparently referring to Guzman's hostile testimony.
Following the verdict, a phalanx of cops and court officers guarded Cooperman's Queens home.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who called Cooperman's decision "an abortion of justice," urged protesters to get arrested "whether it is on Wall St., the judge's house or at 1 Police Plaza."
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and lawyers for acquitted Detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper praised Cooperman.
Oliver, who fired 31 shots, called the verdict "fair and just," and Brown called Cooperman "one of this county's most experienced and respected judges."
In prior interviews, Cooperman said he once considered becoming a journalist, but Monday he said: "I am so glad I did not go to Columbia Journalism [School] and I picked the law. I had misgivings about that,