Yes, you can say Richard Luthmann was, maybe still is, a savage. He was rude, crude, mean, and a terror and this is often not something to be admired.
But Luthmann paid the price for it, in prison -four years. And maybe he learned something, maybe not. But this is not about Luthmann, who readers should know writes for this publication.
This is about unfinished business. This is about a sitting judge whom any one of us might come in front of, a man who benefited from Luthmann’s savagery, aided in that savagery, benefited by it, then lied about his participation in the savagery.
If that kind of judge is good enough for you, OK, but it is not good enough for me, and that is why I write about this and am not done writing.
That judge is Ronald Castorina. And just so you know, I have given the judge his chance to say his side of it. I called him twice.
The first time he answered, and when I told him who I was, he acted like we had a bad connection and the line disconnected. I called him back. I left a detailed message., He never returned the call.
Judge Castorina has an open invitation to call me and speak on or off the record. My phone number is 305-783-7083. Or he can email me at email@example.com.
Now let us go forward with the story.
Spectrum NY1 News Breaks the Story
On August 25, 2017, NY1 News broke a story that former Staten Island Attorney Richard Luthmann was the administrator of several “Fake Facebook” pages he used to lampoon politicians, officials, and candidates.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castorina was at the center of the storm.
Then an NYS Assemblyman, Castorina’s opponent, Janine Materna, alleged Castorina had unclean hands in Luthmann’s “sordid” affair.
At the time, Materna claimed she was the victim of a dirty trick. “I believe that my opponent has really used a lot of smear tactics on social media against me, which I think is very distasteful,” she said.
Materna’s opponent in the Republican primary, Ron Castorina, denied any involvement.
Materna called for Castorina’s resignation. But most in Staten Island political circles gave him the benefit of the doubt.
On August 30, 2017, then-Congressman and former Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan came to Castorina’s defense:
“He’s a great leader in such a short period of time for our party, has the respect and the support of all the members of the county committee, so I think [resignation is] something that none of us support.”
More information came out on September 8, 2018. NY1 News reported Castorina knew about the Facebook pages:
Luthmann and Castorina communicated often on Facebook Messenger, according to screenshots obtained by NY1.
Castorina and Jewish Slurs
Castorina knew about and approved Luthmann’s antics with former NYC Board of Elections General Counsel Steven Richman.
Luthmann’s lampooning entertained Castorina. Here is their Facebook Messenger exchange of August 1, 2017:
Richard Luthmann: I called Steve Richman a Jew-rat.
Richard Luthmann: But passed it off as mispronounced Jurat.
Richard Luthmann: It’s not like there is a Jew-rat right in front of me.
Judge Ron Castorina Jr.: Noooooo- lmfao ur fuckin terrible and hysterical all at the same time lol ha ha ha
Judge Ron Castorina Jr.: I thought unused to like Steve
Judge Ron Castorina Jr.: U used to *
Richard Luthmann: This is Prima Facie defect… You don’t look at the Jew-rat right in front of me…
Richard Luthmann: It was glorious.
Richard Luthmann: I never liked Steve Richman.
Judge Ron Castorina Jr.: Omg omg omg out of your mind!!!! I have to see this video
The placating Judge Castorina did not condemn the anti-Jewish slur, but instead he expressed an almost uncontrollable glee from it and desired to see the video/
Castorina Colluded on Fake Materna Facebook Page
Despite what he later testified, Judge Castorina knew about Luthmann’s fake Janine Materna Facebook page, and he advised about what the page should contain. Why shouldn’t he? Materna was his, not Luthmann’s opponent.
According to the NY1 News report:
NY1 previously revealed that Castorina knew Luthmann was behind a deceptively official-looking Facebook page that mischaracterized the positions of Castorina’s opponent, Janine Materna, in a Republican primary for Assembly last fall.
Screenshots show that Luthmann communicated with Castorina about what that page should contain.
After our report aired, a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Luthmann’s role in that page and others.
Frank Report published these communications relied upon by NY1 News:
Evidence of Judge Castorina’s Perjury in Grand Jury Proceeding
On October 11, 2015, Castorina told Luthmann that Janine Materna had filed a campaign committee and was going to primary him next year “for sure.”
Luthmann: “Time for a fake Janine Materna site….”
Castorina: janine materna filed a committee- shes going to primary me for sure
Castorina: she was roming around richmond town with that guy ron lauria yesterday too
Luthmann: Fuck them.
Luthmann: Time for a fake Janine Materna site…
Castorina knew Luthmann intended to make a fake Janine Materna Facebook page, 11 months before the election.
In the same conversation, Castorina said Materna had been preparing to make websites for years.
Luthmann had a one-word response: “Facebook.”
Castorina replied: “Yes – I need to talk to you about that race, and I’m going to need your expertise.”
Castorina and Luthmann collaborated on a search for a picture of Materna with Hillary Clinton to be used on Facebook “smear tactics.”
Castorina: that bitch has had a URL for assembly congress and senate for 5 years- shes fucking nuts
Castorina: yes- i need to talk to you about that race, and im going to need your expertise
Luthmann: Then turn it into RINO Janine Materna
Luthmann: FLIP FLOP
Luthmann: FLIPPITY FLOPPITY FLOOP
Castorina: shes a republican, but she took the working fam parties endorsement and worked for hillary
Luthmann: Republican today…Dem yesterday
Luthmann: Is there a picture of her with Hillary?\
Castorina: yes, so much bullshit- shes a first year law student- its like legally blond
Castorina: im looking for one, but theres a few with chucky schumer
Castorina gladly helped Luthmann, even advising him that in Republican Staten Island, a photo with Democrat Senator Charles Schumer would help make the Facebook page more beneficial to himself, and less for his opponent Materna.
He obviously consented. He did not object. He was not placating. A Facebook smear was what he wanted for the campaign. He asked Luthmann for help.
Castorina wanted social media tricks to help get him elected. He wanted to sit down with Luthmann. He said so on his Messenger.
He did not look at Luthmann as a crazy, some sort of occupational hazard in his rarefied business.
He asked Luthmann to have dinner, requesting it on more than one occasion.
He sought his advice, and he offered, and possibly paid for that advice, and when he asked for his advice, it was in response to Luthmann’s revelations about Facebook pages on his opponent Materna.
But that is not how Judge Castorina testified.
Keep in mind also, when you think about a guy using another guy, and then calling him a bad penny, that Castorina ran on the Reform Line in the 2016 primary, delivered to him in part by Luthmann, who was the Reform party’s Law Chair.
Yet Castorina testified under oath that he considered Luthmann a “bad penny” whom he tried to avoid and only communicated with to placate him while seeking to avoid him.
Even Chucky Schumer would not lie like that.
The evidence is blatant. On October 11, 2015, Luthmann shared the link to the Janine Materna fake Facebook page with Castorina for the first time.
He did not say, stop this bad penny. Castorina responded, “I want to crush her – such a phony bitch.”
He called her a bitch.
Luthmann: “Poop Shoot Princess”
Shared Link: https://www.facebook.com/SeeYouNextTuesdaySI/
Link title: Log in or sign up to view
Link description: See posts, photos and more on Facebook.
Castorina: Ha ha ha
Luthmann: We’ll get her about 500 likes…
Castorina: I want to crush her- such a phony bitch
Castorina: She’s such a phony self serving bitch. Can’t stand her
Castorina knew about the fake Materna page in October 2015. He knew Luthmann was behind it, and he collaborated on it.
The Castorina-Materna Republican Primary Election for NYS Assembly took place on September 13, 2016. One month before, Luthmann reported his Facebook posts to Castorina.
The first had a picture of Materna with former NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, a politician reviled in the Staten Island Assembly District. The Facebook post stated as if it came from Materna: “We will have a conversation about Housing Projects on the South Shore. #NYCHATottenville.”
This was meant to scare voters into thinking Materna would build a racially diverse public subsidy, Democrat-heavy housing project on the South Shore of Staten Island.
Castorina had his chance to say, ‘stop this bad penny. I want to win honestly, for I am an ethical man with aspirations of becoming a judge one day and judging other people’s ethics. That’s who I am.’
But that’s not what he did.
Instead, he said, “Good, She’s a vicious animal.”
Just to be clear, he did not say Luthmann was a vicious animal. He said Materna was a vicious animal, and when Luthmann showed him the photo and the remarks purportedly coming from Materna about building a housing project in voters’ neighborhood, Castorina said, “Good.”
Another post placed Materna with sex offender Anthony Weiner and said: “SOLID ON WOMEN’S ISSUES.”
Castorina replied: “lmfao ha ha ha.”
Luthmann: Shared Link: (DeBlasio Post) https://www.facebook.com/SeeYouNextTuesdaySI/photos/
Shared Link: (Weiner Post) https://www.facebook.com/SeeYouNextTuesdaySI/photos/
Luthmann: The Dark Penguin strikes!
Castorina: Lmfao ha ha ha
Castorina: Don’t forget this one (Holder and Materna picture)
Luthmann: In a news feed near you very soon!
Castorina: shes a vicious animal
Luthmann: Ah yes. But I’m Luthmann!
Luthmann: Shared Link: (Holder and Materna Post) https://www.facebook.com/SeeYouNextTuesdaySI/photos/
Castorina: That’s just hysterical wow
Bad penny? Trying to placate?
On August 21, 2016, at 6:37 pm, Castorina sent Luthmann a picture of Materna with Obama Attorney General Eric Holder.
At 6:40 pm, three minutes later, the picture was posted to the Materna Fake Facebook page with the caption: “BLACK LIVES MATTER #BLM.”
A man with black robes on who saw the racial tinge to this post would undoubtedly say, “Carzy Luthmann, you bad penny, stop, stop, this is going too far.” Or at least he could gently discourage it or ignore him.
But Castorina replied, “That’s just hysterical wow.”
On August 30, 2016, two weeks before the primary, Luthmann sent a message to Castorina. “I think we have to do a new video,” he said. “Janine Materna is not a democrat. Janine Materna is a cunt.”
Agreeing that the woman was a “cunt,” Judge Castorina said, “She’s a rotten one at that.”
Luthmann said, “Janine Materna XXX?” and sent a photoshopped picture of a blonde woman performing a lewd act on a man.
An amused and excited Castorina replied: “Lmfaooo omg. Her and Weiner. There’s her pearl necklace she always wears.”
Luthmann: I think we have to do a new video.
Castorina: Janine Materna is not a democrat. Janine Materna is a cunt.
Castorina: She’s a rotten one at that.
Luthmann: Janine Materna XXX?
Luthmann: (Sends lewd photoshopped picture)
Luthmann: She will jump in front of a bus.
Castorina: Lmfaooo omg.
Castorina: Her and wiener
Castorina: there’s her pearl necklace whe always wears…
Luthmann: “Carlos Danger and me.”
Castorina: That’s just terrible OMG lol
On September 7, 2016, less than a week before the primary, Luthmann messaged Castorina with the hashtag #NYCHATottenville and said this would be trending.
The #NYCHATottenville hashtag came from the Materna fake Facebook.
Castorina responded, “Good as it should be!!!!!”
Luthmann: I have a feeling that #NYCHATottenville will be a topic of conversation the next few days.
Castorina: Good as it should be!!!!!
At most, Judge Castorina colluded with Luthmann to create and administer a fake Janine Materna Facebook page in the 2016 Republican Primary Election. At least he lied about his knowledge and participation.
But Castorina benefited. Luthmann paid the price.
Castorina Lawyers Up
Develops “Placate Luthmann” Talking Point
After NY1 News broke the Fake Facebook story on September 8, 2017, Castorina knew enough to lawyer up.
Castorina tells NY1 he’s been advised by his attorney not to speak with NY1 and declined comment.
By September 9, 2017, Castorina sang a new tune to the Staten Island Advance, perhaps prompted by his newly-retained lawyers:
Castorina has told the Advance he never initiated conversation with Luthmann about attacking Materna on social media, and only replied to placate him and prevent the litigious man from aiming his legal guns at Castorina.
Castorina would ride the “placate Luthmann” around town. Within a few weeks, everyone forgot that Luthmann and Castorina were both involved in the fake Janine Materna Facebook page.
Luthmann became the focus, particularly after he was arrested on unrelated federal charges.
Castorina’s problem is that his “placate Luthmann” talking point is a lie. It was a shrewd political strategy but not truthful.
Castorina’s problem isn’t political. He weathered the political storm. Politically, Castorina’s prospects were grand. He is now a New York State Supreme Court Justice.
Castorina’s problem is legal.
Perhaps topically crafted to avoid the connections of “collusion,” the “placate Luthmann” talking point was a political solution.
It left Castorina open legally because it was a lie, and demonstrably so. NY1 News had shown it to be.
In the United States, the law may not forgive the politically forgivable. Bill Clinton did not have sex with “that woman,” Monica Lewinsky, before he admitted he did. The public came around. The law did not. Clinton made false statements under oath. As a result, he lost his license to practice law in Arkansas.
In the United States, the law does not always forgive perjurers. But this is Staten Island, where the law is franchised and legal fundament gives way to the politically expedient.
Castorina Perjury in the Grand Jury
And all would have been well had Castorina not testified in the Luthmann grand jury in a manner calculated to persuade jurors that Luthmann acted alone, was solely guilty, and Castorina was neither an accomplice nor co-conspirator.
With the help of a witless Special Prosecutor, a useful idiot named Eric Nelson, Castorina testified to his “placate Luthmann” talking point.
Under oath at a grand jury convened to indict Luthmann on August 1, 2018, Castorina advanced the “placate Luthmann” talking point in furtherance of a Luthmann Indictment.
Castorina swore under oath that:
- [Luthmann] “never indicated he was going to make a page….”
- “Any communications that he had with me were unwanted.”
- “I don’t want to deal with this person.”
- “I don’t want to talk to this person.”
- “I want nothing to do with this person.”
- “He was someone I would typically like to avoid.”
Castorina made these statements:
Castorina: But any communications that he had with me were unwanted communications, and as an elected official, at times people contact you that probably you don’t want them to, but you have to kind of placate them.
And we have crazy people that contact me. There are people that are just, you know, complainers. There are all kinds of people when you’re in the public eye. They will gravitate to you for whatever reason and they will seek you out.
He was one of those such people, but, in addition to that, he was also an adversary representing people on the other side of certain cases that I had, and in particular —
Special Prosecutor Nelson: Just don’t —
Special Prosecutor Nelson: Leave it at that.
Given another opportunity, Castornia reminded the grand jury of his crafted political talking point, “placate Luthmann”:
And then on the private messenger side that wasn’t public, he would send all kinds of lewd, really disgusting pornographic-in-nature-at-times, racially-biased-at-times images that, you know, I would just kind of ignore or placate in some way, and, you know, just to — to get this person away.
I don’t want to deal with this person, I don’t want to talk to this person, I want nothing do with this person, but this person just keeps coming back.
Even when Special Prosector Eric Nelson had a tricky question to ask – like whether he knew about Luthmann’s “super-soaker” spraying of Nicole Malliotakis at a civic picnic, Castorina could fall back on the “placate Luthmann” talking point. As if by magic, Castorina’s legal exposure gave way to the political expedience of “getting Luthmann”:
Special Prosecutor Nelson: Did he indicate at anytime about — about a — using a water pistol against [Nicole Malliotakis]?
Castorina: He may have in — in some commentary that he may have sent over to me, but, frankly, you know, any — if not all of what he had to say in any message to me I kind of took with a grain of salt and placated him so that I didn’t have to deal with him.
That Castorina “may have” known about Luthmann’s activities in August 2018 is not the same as Castorina’s knowledge, as evidenced by Facebook messages. Castorina knew what Luthmann was doing. Castorina was a co-conspirator in the fake Facebook. He was the sole beneficiary, not Luthmann.
Special Prosecutor Nelson, who had the Facebook messages, allowed this false testimony. Nelson was incompetent by design.
Nelson subpoenaed the Facebook records and billed NYC Taxpayers for reviewing them. Nelson was able to bill taxpayers more than $700,000, according to records obtained from the NYC Comptroller.
Nelson didn’t have to read to be a competent prosecutor. All he had to do was watch TV – NY1 News’ reporting and analysis in September 2017.
Castorina’s Collusion With Luthmann Is “Legal Fiction”
In November 2018, Special Prosecutor Nelson verified Castorina’s political defense of “placate Luthmann” as legally sound. Luthmann was indicted.
Nelson filed a Bill of Particulars showing Luthmann acted alone.
According to the verified pleading signed and sworn by Nelson, Luthmann had no accomplices or co-conspirators. Judge Castorina merely “placated Luthmann.”
As of yesterday, I received evidence that the NYS Attorney General’s Office has become aware of this suspected perjury of a sitting judge. Emails have circulated among numerous officials at that office,
Whether it will lead to an investigation, an indictment for perjury, or the removal of Judge Castorina from the bench, possibly without his law license, is hard to know. But wheels are turning, wheels within wheels, and bright days give way to bleak days and gloom on gloom, and meteors fall as fast as they rise. And the first shall be last when they got to the head of the table by treachery, cowardice, and lies.
I gotta say it…these texts show Luthmann as a racist, antisemitic, misogynistic a-hole. And he is Frank’s new best friend and blog co-pilot? WTF, indeed.
A man can change. I believe in second chances. Even third chances. I believe a person can change, and though he made mistakes, he can shed those bad habits and actions and become courageous and good. I want to encourage that. Don’t you?
I was all these things. “Gladiator School” changed me.
IDK man, I can see the placating part as being true. Most of Castorina’s responses were just, “I hate that bitch. OMG you are hilarious!” not, “Please create this facebook page and impersonate her.” It also seemed like Richard was the one who always contacted Castorina. It seems kind of like if a kooky neighbor told me he was going to send hate mail to someone I also happened to hate, and he told me what he was going to write, and I said, “OMG that’s hilarious. You are too much.” I’m now a co-conspirator? IDK. Also, I can see he might have been afraid to piss off Luthmann by confronting him on his anti-semitic remark etc because what if Luthmann then decided to start viciously “lampooning” Castorina in retaliation? That was a real possibility at the time.
Interesting perspective. Let’s hear from Rich Luthmann.
The phone records don’t lie. Below are just a small part of the records subpoenaed by Eric Nelson. Ron was calling me and staying on the phone for extended periods.
Also, we used short calls because we did face to face meetings, and used the calls to set them up.
I laid this all out in this letter:
10-27-2022 Letter to Ronald Castorina
Richard apologized, served time and passed his test from 2016.
Has Ron apologized yet? In what ways did Ron make amends for his participation in that project?
If Ron offers no sincere apology and faces no consequences for the role he played, his test from 2016 will be ongoing and more complicated with time. Ron’s test is now Judge Castorina’s test — and also the New York State justice system’s test now. The more time passes without sincere answers and apologies, the more complicated the consequences will be. Answers to questions about New York courts shouldn’t be more difficult to get than answers to questions about asteroids.
A different kind of test (to better understand an asteroid) also started in 2016.
On September 8th, 2016, NASA launched “OSIRIS-REx, its first asteroid sample return mission. The probe will visit Bennu and is expected to return with samples in 2023 … 101955 Bennu … is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group discovered by the LINEAR Project on 11 September 1999. It is a Scale. It has a cumulative 1-in-1,800 chance of impacting Earth between 2178 and 2290 with the greatest risk being on 24 September 2182 …” (from Wikipedia, about the year 2016)
Answers to questions about the justice system should be easier to find than questions about dangerous asteroids and answers to questions about an asteroid are expected this year. Judge Castorina and New York’s justice system should have answered questions honestly about that silly case years ago. It’s a good thing New York courts aren’t responsible for protecting us from asteroids.
When judges lie it’s not like lying in the Bible.
Lay off dude. This guy is a judge. Respect the law. Judges must be respected.
Lay off all judges? No matter what they’ve done and no matter what they do?
Pathetic that Castorina hides behind a bad connection to avoid any comment.
His conduct is reprehensible and he needs to step down as judge. He’s an untrustworthy, a manipulator and liar void of moral compass.
Sleeze factor: high
Castorina doesn’t exactly come across very well out of this, but neither does Richard Luthman. Politics seems to be a very dirty business on the Republican side. Is it any better on the other?
There would certainly seem to be a perjury case to answer for Castorina.
Love the poetic ending!
I paid the price for what I did. I went to prison for four years because of fake Facebook pages.
Moreover, I recognize what I did, though legally permissible and First Amendment-protected speech, was just plain wrong. It was immoral, and every day I am trying to be a better person than I was the day before – and especially better than the person I was in 2017.
Also, I have privately apologized to the parties I believe I have previously wronged.
Boys will be boys. You admitted what you did and apologized. The other guy lied, got away with it and now sits in one of the most powerful positions in the state. That’s not only not fair, it’s an extremely dangerous situation.
Kay Griggs didn’t call those who got away with bad behavior “boys”. She called them “adolescents”. I hope you see this interview and hear what Kay Griggs says about those who got away with setting the stage for the many disasters we all face now.
Your humility under that big persona is admirable. Thank you for your honesty.
That’s fair enough. I’ve heard Republican politics can be a very dirty business.
The Democrats do not have a monopoly on dirty politics.
We all make mistakes. Its admirable to show you truly understand the error of your ways by being accountable – irl – not just words. You paid over-much for your stupidity, in my view, but also the experience you gained from it – could you have really learned what you have without it? would you have developed as keen an understanding of the injustice you fight so effectively now? I reckon somebody up there likes you and that’s enough for me. All the best.
How does something like this happen? If that is the justice system in Staten Island, then Tish James has to do a full inquiry. It’s funny how the politicians who oppose progressive criminal justice reforms citing “lawlessness,” are the most lawless ones themselves.