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GOP nominating petitions bear names of DA Brown, Gallagher

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In a strange twist of fate, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s name is appearing on Republican nominating petitions that also have the name of former City Councilman Dennis Gallagher, who Brown’s office prosecuted in 2007 on sexual assault allegations.

Gallagher has remained involved in politics since resigning from his Council seat as part of a plea deal that kept him out of jail.

The deal required him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor sexual abuse charge after he was accused of raping a 52-year-old grandmother in his Council campaign office July 8, 2007, after meeting her in a Middle Village bar earlier that day.

At the time the allegations surfaced, Brown said they were “very troubling — particularly because they involve the actions of a public official who has a special responsibility to uphold and obey the law.”

Gallagher is running to keep his spot on the Queens GOP county committee while Brown, who has been cross-endorsed by Queens Democrats and Republicans, is seeking re-election as district attorney.

The area Gallagher wants to represent as a county committeeman encompasses about five to six city blocks and there are about 1,500 county committee positions available.

The committee meets once every two years for reorganization purposes and to pick Queens GOP leaders.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Gallagher downplayed the irony of the petitions.

“It’s a slate petition that has multiple candidates on it,” he said. “It just happens to be that [Brown’s] cross-endorsed by the Republicans and I’m on the same petition.”

The story first appeared in the New York Post and a GOP insider claimed the Haggerty brothers, who are feuding with Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa and are enemies of Gallagher, were behind the article.

“It’s a political hatchet job. They’re trying to slander and attack,” the insider said. “Clearly, this was a political hit that was given to the New York Post and I guess that’s the way politics works.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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