A man has confessed to trying to stop a last-minute witness from testifying before a grand jury probe investigating the police shooting of a bridegroom on his wedding day, officials said Thursday.
Police said Melvin Cordero admitted to them that he warned the witness “he could be deported and he was going to be arrested and fired” if he cooperated.
Cordero, 46, was arraigned Thursday on charges of intimidating a witness, coercion and witness tampering. Bail was set at $5,000.
A call to his attorney was not returned.
Authorities said Cordero was a supervisor for a cleaning service that also employed the witness, whose identity has not been disclosed. Cordero, a convicted drug dealer, allegedly told investigators he feared the cleaning company might find out about his own criminal record if the witness came forward.
“I opened my big mouth and I shouldn’t have, and all I was trying to do was save my job,” he said, according to police.
The witness appeared at the end of the grand jury probe into the 50-shot police killing of Sean Bell, which also wounded two of his friends.
Earlier this month, the two officers who fired the most rounds were indicted on manslaughter charges. A third was charged with a misdemeanor for a bullet that struck an elevated train station across the street where the witness was working the morning of the shooting, authorities said.
Bell, 23, was killed the morning of Nov. 25 after his bachelor party at a Queens topless bar. The police shooters, who were conducting an undercover vice operation at the club, claim they believed Bell and his friends were retrieving a gun from his car to settle a dispute.
When one of the officers approached the car, it lurched forward and bumped him, then twice rammed into an unmarked police minivan as the bullets flew until the vehicle stopped, police said.