In 2008, Shirley Morton, a clerk working for the Albany Police Department, filed charges against Sergeant Kevin McKenna for allegedly pointing a loaded gun at her while working one evening at the police department. The alleged incident took place on January 2 while Morton was working an overtime shift. Morton’s account of the events stated that another officer proclaimed, "It’s loaded," and then Sgt. McKenna pointed a .45 caliber gun at her twice. Sgt. McKenna was indicted on a charge of menacing.
DerOhannesian and DerOhannesian represented Sgt. McKenna throughout his arrest, investigation and prosecution. Sgt. McKenna was facing a possible prison term as well as the loss of his job and pension. The jury trial took place in Albany County Court and was presided over by Judge Stephen Herrick.
From the onset of the investigation, DerOhannesian and DerOhannesian recognized Morton’s ulterior motives and cited several inconsistencies and irregularities in her statements and testimony at trial. Morton also waited several days before reporting the incident. The firm considered Morton’s criminal accusation as a means to bolster her civil case worth millions of dollars. DerOhannesian revealed to the jury that Morton filed a $35 million civil claim against Sgt. McKenna, the officer who owned the gun, the police department and various police officials.
DerOhannesian and DerOhannesian further exposed Morton’s false accounts by highlighting numerous contradictions in her testimony. During an interview with a health care provider, Morton told the interviewer that Sgt. McKenna had pointed the gun "in jest." In a crucial moment during the trial, Paul DerOhannesian held his hand sideways to demonstrate how Sgt. McKenna allegedly held the gun. Morton agreed saying that the gun had been held sideways. DerOhannesian and DerOhannesian quickly brought to the court’s attention that Morton’s demonstration contradicted her earlier testimony that the gun was held straight.
After an hour of deliberation the jury acquitted Sgt. McKenna.