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Romantic entanglement may foul DA’s Genovese case: Reports

Assistant District Attorney Barbara Wilkanowski allegedly offered 26-year-old Joseph Bonelli sweet deals on two criminal cases if he hired her boyfriend to represent her, the New York Post reported in January.

Bonelli was arrested in July 2006 for selling cocaine and was collared on a weapons charge just two months later. He was rearrested on Dec. 28, 2007, for allegedly stabbing a man outside a Whitestone bar.

On Tuesday, the Daily News reported that court papers filed Monday by Bonelli's new lawyer, Virginia Alvarez, show Wilkanowski and Bonelli became involved in a relationship between September 2006 and December 2007, smooching in public and dining at Leonard's catering hall in Great Neck during a November 2006 party.

The court documents reportedly were filed in an attempt to have the case looked at by a special prosecutor, with Alvarez claiming the Queens DA would be biased in prosecuting his client while also looking into allegations against Wilkanowski.

Queens DA spokeswoman Helen Peterson confirmed that Bonelli's lawyer had filed a motion to have a special prosecutor hear the case. She said the DA's office would fight the motion and referred further questions about it to Bonelli's defense. Peterson also said an internal office investigation of Wilkanowski is ongoing but offered no time frame for its completion.

The Daily News report indicated Wilkanowski has been on leave since Dec. 17.

Wilkanowski allegedly had Bonelli hire her boyfriend, Robert Kelly, as his lawyer, and then played games to make Kelly jealous, according to the court documents referred to by the Daily News.

The newspaper further reported that Kelly's lawyer denied his client was even aware Wilkanowski had claimed to be romantically involved with Kelly, who has, in the interim, withdrawn from Bonelli's case citing illness.

The decision to refer the case or appoint a special prosecutor will be made by Queens Supreme Court Acting Administrative Judge Jeremy Weinstein, according to the Daily News.

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