NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 23, 2015, 3:12 PM
Louise Meanwell (r.), pictured with her attorney Kevin Marino (l.), accepted a plea deal on counts related to her previous charges in the stalking of Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
A woman who says she was the mistress of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman pleaded guilty to blackmailing him Wednesday — but did not have to admit guilt as part of a rare plea deal.
Louise Meanwell, 39, copped to grand larceny by extortion, perjury and criminal impersonation in Manhattan Supreme Court, where she took the deal on the grounds that there likely was enough evidence to convict her at trial.
“Although (Meanwell) continues to maintain her innocence as to every charge in the indictment, she recognizes that there is a possibility of conviction based upon the evidence,” her attorney Kevin Marino said in court.
“In light of that, in the interest of putting this unfortunate matter behind her, will enter an Alford plea,” the lawyer added, referring to the legal term for the agreement.
Prosecutors initially opposed the proposed offer by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bruce Allen who gave Meanwell a probation sentence that will run concurrently with a five-year term she’s already serving.
Meanwell admitted that “the prosecution would be able to present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” as to each of the charges she pleaded guilty to, when the judge posed the situation to her.
“If (the) jury were to convict you, would you then face substantial jail time — many, many years in jail?” said Allen, who also asked if it impacted her “decision to resolve the case in this way.”
“Yes, your honor,” said Meanwell, who wore a forest green dress as she calmly complied with the process.
Meanwell will serve a probation sentence that will run concurrently with a five-year term she’s already serving.
Meanwell also agreed to drop the lawsuit she has pending against Cashman in which she accuses him of hacking her email.
It was Allen’s last day on the bench before retiring. Had the case not been resolved, it would have been transferred to another judge.
“I would just like to say thank you,” Meanwell said to Allen before he imposed her sentence.
Meanwell was convicted at trial earlier this year, in front of Allen, of fraudulently obtaining a subsidized apartment in TriBeCa by lying on paperwork about the number of occupants.
Her plea puts to bed a high-profile prosecution that began with her arrest in 2012, when Cashman was still married.
She was later slapped with a 52-count indictment that included charges she lied to a grand jury and committed fraud to score her 1-bedroom apartment through a government program.
The plea also spares Cashman from what would likely have been an embarrassing cameo on the witness stand where he would have been confronted with questions about his relationship with Meanwell.
The plea deal for Meanwell means that Yanks GM Brian Cashman won’t have to take the stand and answer questions regarding the relationship he had with her.
Meanwell, who is British, could face deportation but Marino said the government does not normally go after people with convictions like hers.
The judge said that if he’s contacted by immigration officials, he would recommend that she be permitted to stay in the country.
“I have had a chance to watch you for many, many days during the trial and now your appearance on this case and I have to say that you conducted yourself in an exemplary manner,” Allen said.
Assistant District Attorneys Daniel Holmes and Kenn Kern sought orders or protection in favor of Cashman, the baseball big’s alleged former mistress Kim Brennan and Meanwell’s ex-boyfriend Thomas Walsh, who she was accused of stalking before her Cashman collar.
Allen issued the orders of protection in favor of all three people and she must have no contact of any kind with any of them.
“She has no interest in seeing Mr. Cashman or any of the other individuals involved in this,” Marino said outside the courthouse.
Meanwell faced up to 15 years in prison on the top count.