Sections

►Audio

John O’Hara on his vindication thanks to The Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Brooklyn Paper Radio

Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, he is free at last!

And he’s soon to be a hit song, too!

Days after John O’Hara, the only man prosecuted in New York State for voter fraud, was finally cleared on appeal of the politically motivated felony charges that sullied his name, cost him his law license and forced him to do more than 1,000 of community service, he took a victory lap on the airwaves of Brooklyn Paper Radio, the paper of record on the overzealous persecution of O’Hara by then-District Attorney Charles Hynes.

“If it wasn’t for the Brooklyn Paper, I never would have been cleared,” O’Hara told show co-hosts Gersh Kuntzman of the New York Daily News and Brooklyn Paper Editor Vince DiMiceli. “You guys covered it every step of the way.”

But even the Paper wasn’t able to completely exonerate O’Hara, which a state judge did last week after a witness recanted. Previously, the witness had testified that O’Hara could not have legally voted from the address he had given to the Board of Elections because his basement apartment was not actually an apartment.

Wrong. It was. O’Hara voted legally. Case closed.

The two-decade-long case intrigued the show’s other guest, Don Rauf, the lead singer of seminal Brooklyn band, Life in a Blender. Rauf suggested that O’Hara’s story could easily be made into a stinging rebuke of lying politicians and a corrupt system in the style of Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane.”

Rauf was unable to come up with lyrics on the spot, so Kuntzman improvised: “Here comes the story of an O’Hara named John -- The man the authorities said was a con.”

“I think we can do better,” DiMiceli said.

Perhaps, but one thing that could not be improved upon is Rauf’s seminal hit, “What Happened to Smith?” the ultimate gentrification song that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

After a spirited in-studio sing-a-long with Kuntzman on lead vocals and DiMiceli on harmony, Rauf shared the story behind the song, which he penned when he lived on Smith Street at Second Place.

“I saw the changes coming,” he said, referring to his own lyric about the disappearance of the “$5 hero” sandwich that’s now “$20 and tip!”

Rauf was on hand to promote his band’s Jan. 20 show at Barbes on Ninth Street in Park Slope.

“It’s inauguration day, so you’ll need a drink,” he said, before introducing another hit song, “Good Answer,” which centers on the stultifying conformity in America.

“That’s what’s f------ wrong with our country!” Kuntzman screamed. “That song is needed now more than ever!”

“Good answer,” DiMiceli said, parroting the song’s chant-and-repeat chorus.

Brooklyn Paper radio is recorded and podcast live every Tuesday at 10 am — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on BrooklynPaper.com, on iTunes, on Mixlr, and of course, on Stitcher.

Posted 9:47 pm, January 17, 2017
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!