The reporter, Allimadi, in front of State Supreme Court in Queens after being thrown out by Judge McGowan
[Speaking Truth To Power]
New York State Supreme Court judge Margaret Parisi McGowan threw me out of her courtroom in Queens County, Wednesday morning.
When a judge blocks a reporter from a courtroom to prevent him or her from covering a case you know it’s no good. You know something smells. You know something is rotten.
With Judge McGowan, the rot stinks from Queens to Mutukula.
There are many people who’ve come to Black Star News complaining about this judge. They say she’s biased. They say she picks a side and rules in their favor regardless of the facts before the court. They say she’s heartless and doesn’t care about the impact her decisions have on children involved in the middle of divorce cases. They say she orders forensic reports and that if she doesn’t like the results she simply ignores them. They say Judge McGowan thinks she’s above the law.
I’ve covered a number of cases involving Judge McGowan and the allegations against her are compelling. Two prominent stories in Black Star News involves the divorce case of a doctor named Robby Mahadeo and another case involves a doctor named Siranush Cholakian.
Here’s just one of many egregious incidents involving Dr. Cholakian’s case. After a series of articles about her case, Judge McGowan finally recused herself.
Yet, afterwards, she still made one more adverse ruling against Dr. Cholakian. When I inquired from a court spokesperson if it was proper for a judge to take additional action on a case after recusal, he didn’t respond. I made a second inquiry—however, this time I copied then Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and State Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
The very next day Judge McGowan vacated the improper ruling she had made after recusal from Cholakian’s case.
So let me tell you why McGowan threw me out of her courtroom Wednesday. She even had the audacity to claim she was doing it in the “best interest of the children.” Nonsense. Those words were for the purpose of the transcripts.
Here’s the story I was covering.
A man and woman marry in Russia in 2010. The couple come to the U.S. They live in a Manhattan apartment in 2015. They had two children. The man, Dimitri Bourianov is a busy man. Always at work. The super of their building, Alvaro Rodriguez, starts visiting the Bourianov resident when Dimitri is away. He’s not visiting to fix the electrical wiring. He’s lover number one.
The Bourianov’s move to Forest Hills, Queens. The husband is busy as usual. Working late. Traveling sometimes. His wife starts visiting a neighbor in their building named Michael Rogers. She’s not there to borrow a cup of sugar. Lover number two. Bourianov’s wife would leave the children alone at home while she was busy with Rogers. Sometimes the action was in the Bourianov home, with the children in the bedroom, separated by a wall.
The wife wants to get a real estate license. She takes a class taught by a lawyer named Robert Lovell. He’s 68. She’s 39. They start trading raunchy messages. Eventually, while Bourianov is away at work or traveling, Lovell starts visiting their home, not to discuss her license. Lovell, who is married, is lover number three.
Bourianov says Lovell and his wife don’t even have the decency to shield the Bourianov children from their extramarital sex. In one of the several e-mail messages they exchange, Bourianov’s wife confirms that she occasionally gave the children headphones and iPads and told them to stay in the bedroom of their one-bedroom home, watching cartoons, while she and Lovell got busy. On one occasion, reportedly, one of the children stumble into their mother and Lovell in the living room.
Dimitri Bourianov eventually discovers hundreds of raunchy and salacious e-mail messages exchanged between his wife and Lovell. Bourianov says some of the messages were exchanged on iPads that their children had access to.
Bourianov sues for divorce on Sept. 26, 2018. The lawyer he initially hires lives on Staten Island so he files in Richmond County. Some of the e-mail messages exchanged between Bourianov’s wife and Lovell are included as exhibits in the complaint. In one message dated June 20, 2017 his wife told Lovell that she “struggles” with her “anger” because one of the children was sick which meant the lawyer couldn’t visit her to carry out their extracurricular activities.
Dimitri Bourianov’s case eventually shifts to Queens County where they live. Bourianov has the misfortune of having the case assigned to Judge Margaret Parisi McGowan. Bourianov says his case is simple. His wife’s behavior—not only carrying out an affair with three men at the same time, but in their own home while their young boy and girl were home—showed that she had no regard for their children’s welfare.
Bourianov wants Judge McGowan to award him primary custody with regular weekday visitation for the wife and alternate overnight weekends. Judge McGowan has been insisting on 50/50 custody. She even said she’d make Bourianov pay his wife’s legal fees if the case went to trial. The wife filed papers asking for $100,000 in legal fees.
Bourianov says McGowan brushed off his complaint about his wife having sex with her lovers in their living room while the children were home. “So, she likes sex,” McGowan reportedly said, implying that the activities had no bearing on parenting. “Imagine if the roles were reversed and I had been having sex with a lover in the living room while the children were in the bedroom,” Bourianov says. “I wouldn’t even be allowed to see the children.”
Nearly a year into Bourianov’s lawsuit, Lovell, the lawyer, was seen entering McGowan’s chambers where he reportedly remained for more than an hour. When Bourianov’s previous lawyer asked McGowan to recuse herself to avoid conflict of interest, or an appearance of conflict, she refused, saying Lovell had seen her on “unrelated business matter.” Sure.
Bourianov wouldn’t budge and the trial started Sept. 22. I went to report on the case. I waited. The sergeant in charge of court officers finally told me Judge McGowan said reporters weren’t allowed in the courtroom. “She wants to keep me out so I don’t see what she’s doing,” I told the sergeant. I was halfway on my way back home when I got a text message that McGowan had reversed herself.
Conveniently, I’d missed lover number one, Rodriguez’s testimony. I returned in time for the afternoon session. Speaking for the benefit of the transcripts Judge McGowan said she’d erred in the morning. Reporters, after all, were allowed to cover the trials. Thereupon Bourianov’s wife’s lawyer, John Gemelli, made a motion to have me precluded from covering the case, due to its “sensitive” nature, he claimed. The attorney for the children, Steve Forbes, joined in, claiming news coverage could harm the interest of the children.
Judge McGowan—again speaking for the transcripts—denied the motion. She stood up for First Amendment rights and said the documents were public record.
Then Judge McGowan denied a motion by Sari Friedman, Bourianov’s lawyer, to introduce some of the hundreds of e-mail messages exchanged between Lovell and Bourianov’s wife into evidence. Bourianov believes McGowan wants to weigh the scales of justice against him and to protect Lovell.
On Oct. 8, I wrote an article about the case.
I referenced some of the e-mail messages exchanged between Bourianov’s wife and Lovell that had been part of the complaint filed in Richmond County. Some of the messages are also part of a forensic report by Dr. Nicole Berman, a psychologist who testified for Bourianov—some are part of a previous motion filed by Bourianov’s previous counsel, and Friedman, the lawyer will try to enter them again. So Judge McGowan is aware of the salacious e-mail messages.
Wednesday morning, Gemelli, Bourianov’s wife’s lawyer, waving a copy of my Black Star News article again again asked Judge McGowan to preclude me from covering the case. He brought up the e-mail messages, even though they are public record. Forbes, the attorney for the children again joined in the motion. Forbes said if the children—now ages six and nine—Googled the family name “Bourianov” they would see my Black Star News article because it ranked as the 5th item.
So Judge McGowan—who on Sept. 22 denied a similar motion—agreed that the Black Star News article was harmful to the welfare of the children; not the mother having sex with lovers in the living room of their home while the children were in the bedroom or leaving them alone at home to pursue the extramarital relations.
Lovell was supposed to testify Wednesday.
McGowan threw me out of her courtroom to prevent me from hearing what he had to say.
Follow the author @allimadi on twitter. If any reader has encountered egregious rulings by any judge reach me via [email protected]