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Friday, September 16, 2011

Jury Selection in 2009 Bloomberg Campaign Aide's Trial Begins Monday

From Queens Campaigner, September 15, 2011, "Jury selection set to start Monday in theft case against Haggerty" -[on Bloomberg election aide]
Queens Campaigner 9/15 article, by Joseph Gargiulo:
Jury selection was expected to begin Monday in the trial of Forest Hills Republican political operative and Bloomberg campaign volunteer John Haggerty, who is accused of stealing $1.1 million of the mayor’s money for a phony poll watching operation.
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg was running for a third term in 2009, he donated $1.1 million to the state Independence Party that was then funneled to Haggerty, which prosecutors say was supposed to be earmarked for poll watching on Election Day.
But prosecutors claim Haggerty, a Forest Hills resident and a widely known Republican operative, did not use the funds for those purposes and instead used the money to buy out his brother’s share of their father’s Forest Hills Gardens home.
Haggerty is facing larceny charges and jury selection was scheduled for Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Haggerty’s lawyers contend he did not do anything illegal in how he used the funds from Bloomberg.
Haggerty and his brother, Bart, are in a longstanding feud with Queens Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa and have tried to wrest control of the county party from Ragusa and his allies.

And now for the John Eligon, New York Times report, Monday, January 12, 2011 on judge's decision against New York City Mayor Bloomberg, and the background on this political corruption trial.
With Ruling, Mayor’s Spending May Enter Trial of Former Aide
A Manhattan judge on Monday refused to bar defense lawyers from exploring Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s campaign spending habits in the trial of one of his former political consultants.
Justice Ronald A. Zweibel of State Supreme Court did, however, say he would decide the relevance of particular evidence as the trial of the consultant, John F. Haggerty Jr., proceeded.

The ruling sets the stage for what could be interesting and revealing political theater, as Mr. Haggerty’s lawyers have hinted at plans to expose what they say were efforts by Mr. Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign to keep certain information secret. Jury selection is now scheduled to begin next week.

Prosecutors have accused Mr. Haggerty of stealing more than $1 million from Mr. Bloomberg by promising to provide ballot security for that price, even though he had no intention of doing so. Based on Mr. Haggerty’s false representations, Mr. Bloomberg contributed $1.2 million to the state’s Independence Party, most of which went to Mr. Haggerty for ballot security that he never performed, prosecutors said.

But defense lawyers have said Mr. Bloomberg knew that once he gave money to the Independence Party, he no longer legally controlled it. So, the lawyers argued, Mr. Bloomberg was not relying on representations by Mr. Haggerty when he decided to give money to the Independence Party for ballot security.

Read the rest of the original John Eligon article in the Times on the John Haggerty trial. Haggerty the straw-man patsy for corruption in Bloomberg's third term campaign?

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