Thursday, May 03, 2012

Yonkers trial update: Annabi aims to set aside verdict

Former Yonkers Council Member Sandy Annabi, whose flipped vote on Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill development led in part to her indictment and then conviction on federal corruption charges, is looking to see that set aside. The Journal News reported yesterday, in Sandy Annabi seeks new trial, new attorney tells The Journal News:
Attorney Edward Sapone said today that he is preparing two post-conviction motions on the grounds that “no rational juror could have found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as to any of the counts of which Miss Annabi was convicted.”
Sapone noted that during the trial U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon herself expressed skepticism – without jurors present – over the government’s case against Annabi and former Yonkers Republican Chairman Zehy Jereis, who was also convicted after the five-week trial.
McMahon questioned whether prosecutors would be able to prove a key element of the case – that money Jereis spent on Annabi influenced how she voted on the city council.
Post-trial motions must be filed by June 18, and sentencing is scheduled for September 20. However, not only can McMahon be asked to vacate the verdict, an appeal can be filed.

Indeed, the case was murky; while Jereis and Annabi were accused of corrupt payments, with Ridge Hill, at least, there was no clear quid pro quo, just, as prosecutors contended, a pattern of influence.

Annabi speaks, a bit

Annabi herself gave an interview  to Westchester Newsday headlined Sandy Annabi: I'm still in 'complete shock' (reg. required).

Annabi didn't testify--her then-lawyer did try vigorously to defend her--and in the Newsday interview was, not surprisingly, unwilling to go into details.

She did say, "Not to be able to tell my side, my feelings, my thoughts is very difficult." Then again, by not testifying, she also avoided cross-examination.

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