A federal prosecutor argued Friday that reputed Russian racketeer Leonid Gershman should not be released on bail because he is prone to violence and talks in code about his access to guns.
In court in Brooklyn, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Jacobs noted a wiretapped conversation in which Gershman, speaking to his girlfriend Lorena, referred to a gun hidden in his apartment as a “toy.”
Gershman’s lawyer Michael Fineman claimed his client was actually talking about a sex toy.
Gershman was trying to direct Lorena — last name not disclosed — to a pile of cash stashed in the same hiding spot where he keeps his “toy.”
But in another wiretapped conversation with a criminal associate, Gershman ranted that he needed a “toy by Sunday” to deal with a gambler caught cheating at his high-stakes poker game.
“Toy” is often a street slang term for handgun.
A woman identified only as Lorena, leaves Federal Court in Brooklyn after a bail hearing for reputed Russian mobster Leonid Gershman.
Gershman whispered in Fineman’s ear and the mobster’s legal mouthpiece tried to shoot down the gun theory.
“It’s embarrassing, but the toy he is referring to was one of an intimate nature, not a weapon,” Fineman said with a straight face.
But Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes shot back with an even better line.
“Is that the same toy as the one he ‘needed by Sunday ASAP?’ ” the judge asked.
“I find this issue of a toy ... a toy is a gun.”
Gershman, 33, is charged in a federal indictment of participating in extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling and drug trafficking for a crime syndicate based in Coney Island and Brighton Beach.
Lorena was reluctant to back up her boyfriend’s sex toy claim.
He’s also the alleged go-between for the Brooklyn syndicate and high-ranking members of the Russian Mafia known as “thieves in law” in Eastern Europe, according to Jacobs.
Outside court on Friday, Lorena was reluctant to back up her boyfriend’s sex toy claim.
“I don’t really want to talk about it,” she told the Daily News.
No guns were seized by Drug Enforcement Administration agents who searched Gershman’s apartment, but a collection of knives and swords were found. Two large guns are tattooed on his chest.
Gershman, who was born in Moldova and raised in Israel, told the feds he earns $600 a month selling sunglasses and sneakers.