A Senate Intelligence Committee staff member and a former Immigration and Naturalization Service lawyer were arraigned in U.S. District Court yesterday on charges of buying heroin from an undercover police officer posing as a narcotics dealer.
Eric M. Breindel, 27, and Winston B. Prude, 31, were arrested late Monday and charged with a misedemeanor of possessing heroin. Each was released on $5,000 bond after their arraignment before Magistrate Jean F. Dwyer in U.S. District Court here.
The attorneys for Breindel and Prude, Jamie Gorelick and John Gersteub, said after the arraignment that their clients would plead not guilty.
Breindel joined the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee a month ago as the representative of Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.), vice chairman of the committee. While awaiting security clearance, he worked for several months on Moynihan's staff, according to a spokesman for the senator. Breindel was granted top secret security clearance.
Breindel was graduated from Harvard law school last June. He was expecting to obtain a PhD from the London School of Economics this year, according to Moynihan's spokesman.
Prude examined applicants for citizenship as a lawyer with the Immigration and Naturalization Service until last December. He had worked for INS more than three years.
According to a police complaint filed with the magistrate, the two men paid $150 for five bags of heroin to Detective Tyrone Thomas, who posed as a narcotics dealer. The alleged purchase occurred at the Holiday Inn on New York Avenue in Northeast, and was arranged by a police informer, the complaint said.
When police tried to arrest the men outside the motel, Prude allegedly fled but was immediately apprehended, according to the complaint. Police said in that document that they recovered three bags of heroin from the men.
While expressing sorrow at the "personal tragedy" represented by Breindel's arrest, Moynihan said yesterday he asked for his resignation by the end of the day. Moynihan said there is no indication from the charges that any sensitive information was compromised, although that question will be investigated.