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Disputed tape stokes fire at Malakov trial

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A tape−recorded conversation made by the people accused of killing Dr. Daniel Malakov became a serious point of contention Monday as the prosecutor and defense attorney clashed over the audio’s correct translation.

Prosecutor Brad Leventhal called FBI audio expert Mansur Alyadinov as his second−to−last witness in the first−degree murder and conspiracy trial against Mazoltuv Borukhova, Malakov’s estranged wife, and Mikhail Mallayev.

Borukhova, 35, a Bukharian Jewish Uzbek immigrant, is accused of hiring Mallayev, 51 her distant uncle, to kill Malakov on Oct. 28, 2007, at the Annadale Playground in Forest Hills.

Alyadinov, an Uzbek immigrant, read to the jury a translated transcript he prepared for the NYPD of a taped conversation in Russian between Borukhova and Mallayev. The audio expert said he had to have the tape enhanced by a computer and listen to it several times before coming up with his transcript.

“Clothing was rubbing against the microphone. It obstructed the voices,” he testified.

The tape was confiscated by the police from Borukhova’s Forest Hills apartment after Mallayev was arrested in November 2007, according to the prosecution. It was not known when the recording was made, investigators said. Leventhal played the conversation for the jury, pausing several times to let Alyadinov read his translation.

Borukhova and Mallayev talked about going to the airport and a “crazy house situation,” according to the FBI expert. At one point during the six−minute conversation, Mallayev gave his thoughts on the “situation,” according to Alyadinov.

“I think all will be well. I hope all will be fine,” Mallayev told Borukhova. “Hey, are you going to make me happy?”

Prosecutors contend Borukhova had Malakov, 34, an Uzbek immigrant, killed because he had gained custody of their daughter, Michelle. Malakov, a Forest Hills orthodontist, was dropping off the girl, who was 4 at the time of the murder, at the park when he was shot twice in the chest.

Borukhova’s attorney, Stephen Scaring, questioned the accuracy of Alyadinov’s translation during his cross−ex­amination. Scaring said Borukhova translated the tape and said Mallayev was not referring to a “crazy house situation,” but to the situation at the airport.

The attorney said one of the voices makes references to Mother’s Day, a busy air travel season.

“He was referring to people traveling,” Scaring said.

Alyadinov conceded that part of the tape could not be greatly enhanced and he had trouble transcribing that section.

Mallayev was arrested three weeks after the murder after police matched his fingerprints to a makeshift silencer left at the playground by the shooter. Borukhova was arrested in February 2008 after investigators found she and her uncle had nearly 70 phone conversations in the week leading up to the murder, but only two following it, prosecutors said.

She allegedly paid Mallayev approximately $20,000 to carry out the hit, according to Leventhal.

Michael Siff, Mallayev’s court−appointed attorney, put only two witnesses on the stand and rested his case Tuesday. Mallayev did not testify in his own defense. Scaring called Borukhova to the witness stand at the end of the day Tuesday and she said under oath that she did not plot her estranged husband’s murder.

If convicted of first degree−murder and conspiracy, both defendants could face up to life in prison without parole.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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