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Mental Tests Set for Wedtech Key Figure

September 18, 1987|United Press International

NEW YORK — A judge today ordered a former National Guard general to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric observation after two court-appointed doctors found him mentally unfit to stand trial in the Wedtech case.

State Supreme Court Justice Alfred Kleiman said he was not satisfied with the report and wanted further information on Bernard Ehrlich, a former major general in the New York National Guard and a key figure in the Wedtech bribery scandal.

He ordered that Ehrlich, who is free pending trial on bribery charges, be kept under a suicide watch at Bellevue Hospital during 10 days of psychiatric tests.

Ehrlich sat impassively at the defense table as the judge read aloud from a report by two court-appointed doctors who deemed the major general to be "incapacitated."

The doctors said Ehrlich "as a result of mental disease or defect lacks the capacity to understand" the charges against him.

Ehrlich, 59, of Bedford, N.Y., was charged in February with second-degree bribery. A former law partner of Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.), who has also been indicted in the Wedtech case, Ehrlich faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Ehrlich, who was director and counsel for the scandal-ridden Wedtech, allegedly funneled a $58,000 bribe to Vito Castellano, the commander of the New York State militia.

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