Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Yonkers corruption case and the chances for a reversal

The Journal News, in Skeptical judge in Annabi case may consider bid to dismiss, reports that U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon had questioned the nature of a conspiracy in the corruption case in which former Yonkers City Council Member Sandy Annabi and her political mentor, Zehy Jereis, were convicted:
The primary argument by defense lawyers William Aronwald and Anthony Siano was that there was no evidence of any quid pro quo or meeting of the minds that Jereis’ payments came with the expectation Annabi would vote as he directed.

Prosecutors... countered that they had ample evidence of Jereis’ payments and Annabi’s official action and that the linchpin proving the corruption was the lengths the two went to to conceal their financial relationship..
Flaws in theory of the case?

The article quotes lawyer and political consultant Michael Edelman, who gave even odds to a reversal, at least on the corruption counts. (Annabi was also convicted of tax and mortgage fraud.)

The article states:
“Their theory of the case was that Jereis had paid this money in anticipation of a future obligation on the part of Annabi to vote for whatever he wanted her to vote for — that he owned her vote,” Edelman said. “If he owned her vote, why did she say no in the first place? Why did she refuse? Why did they have to hire all these people to persuade her if he owned her vote?”
That's not an unreasonable question. But politics isn't simple and the underlying criminal issue, I believe, is not whether Jereis "owned her vote" but whether he influenced it.

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