The backgammon-loving layabout on trial for the 2009 bathtub slaying of his wife encouraged his son to falsely claim that she had sexually abused him about six months before the murder, according to prosecutors.
Rod Covlin, 45, allegedly coached his then-2-year-old son, Myles, to say that his mother, Shele Danishefsky, had molested him — and even took him to Columbia Presbyterian hospital to report it on July 8, 2009.
Danishefsky, who had primary custody of the children, became hysterical after Covlin failed to return Myles and his sister, Anna, at 8 p.m. when his visitation ended. The pair were in the midst of a brutal divorce proceeding at the time.
With Covlin refusing to answer her frantic phone calls or texts, Danishefsky called the cops.
Police officer Crystallee Vargas, who showed up at Danishefsky’s Upper West Side luxury apartment, said the distraught mom was sobbing.
“She threw herself into my arms, hugged me and began to weep uncontrollably,” Vargas testified Monday. “She was pale, I remember her staring at me and just crying and shaking.”
“Oh my God, I’m so scared! I’m so scared!” Danishefsky wailed, according to Vargas.
The terrified mother also told Vargas that she feared that Covlin would kill her — but the judge barred the witness from sharing this damning detail with jurors.
Doctors and ACS determined that the abuse allegations were unfounded.
ACS staffer Angelberth Ezeogu interviewed Covlin and Myles at the hospital, then returned the children to their mother around 5:30 a.m. the following morning.
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb suggested that the incident had little bearing on whether Covlin murdered his wife more than six months later.
The bogus child abuse allegation backfired on Covlin. A family court judge curtailed his visitation and required that it be supervised in the future.
Covlin is charged with snapping his wife’s neck on Dec. 31, 2009, then staging the crime scene to look like an accidental drowning to get his hands on her $5.4 million fortune.
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