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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Federal Judge Hints That Another "Fix Is In"

Judge in Case From Yonkers Raises Doubts on Evidence
The New York Times by Benjamin Weiser  -  March 13, 2012

A federal judge in Manhattan indicated on Monday that she had serious questions about whether the government had proved a key part of its corruption case against a former Yonkers councilwoman accused of selling her vote to approve a proposed luxury mall and housing complex in return for thousands of dollars in secret payments.  Prosecutors contend that the councilwoman, Sandy Annabi, dropped her opposition to the mall complex, known as Ridge Hill, and a second smaller project, as part of a conspiracy in which she received payments of nearly $175,000 from a co-defendant, Zehy Jereis, and another man. The payments, which began as early as 2002, were made to “influence and control her official conduct, so that he could in turn sell his control over Annabi to the highest bidder,” a prosecutor said during the opening statement.  The judge, Colleen McMahon of Federal District Court, did not dispute that the evidence showed Mr. Jereis had conferred money and gifts on Ms. Annabi. But after sending the jury home, the judge made it clear that she was troubled by what she suggested was a lack of evidence of a criminal conspiracy, and asked for an unusual preliminary argument by prosecutors.  Judge McMahon questioned whether prosecutors had proved there was ever a “meeting of the minds” in which Ms. Annabi agreed to the retainer-like arrangement in return for providing Mr. Jereis, the former chairman of the Yonkers Republican Party, with official acts when he sought them.  “Where is the evidence of that agreement?” the judge asked. “I’m trying to figure out what the evidence is from which the jury can rationally infer that, going all the way back to 2002, there was this understanding that,” as she put it, “if the day ever came when Zehy ever needed her vote, she’d give it to him.”  Beyond payments and gifts, the judge said: “Is that it? There’s nothing else? It’s just the giving and receiving of stuff?”  The judge’s comments, which were focused only on charges involving the Ridge Hill project, came on the eve of what are expected to be motions by the defense after the government rests to dismiss the indictment before the case even goes to the jury.  Such requests are routinely made by defense lawyers, and it is rare for judges to dismiss cases at that stage, when the government cannot appeal the decision. Judges may reserve such a decision until after trial and direct an acquittal if they feel that the evidence did not support a conviction. The government may appeal such a ruling.  In court on Monday, two prosecutors, Jason P. W. Halperin and Perry A. Carbone, emphasized that they had offered abundant evidence to support a conspiracy charge. They said the evidence showed that Ms. Annabi had received payments and concealed them from council members and others; had carried out official acts for Mr. Jereis, like attending meetings with officials of Ridge Hill’s developer, Forest City Ratner; and later voted to approve the project.  Ms. Annabi’s lawyer, William I. Aronwald, and Mr. Jereis’ lawyer, Anthony J. Siano, indicated that they planned to seek dismissal after prosecutors rest, which is expected on Tuesday. There was “no evidence whatsoever that Ms. Annabi joined any conspiracy,” Mr. Aronwald told the judge.  At one point during the debate, Judge McMahon, signaling that she understood the prosecutors’ description of the retainer-like agreement that they claimed had existed, invoked an unlikely film reference.  “It’s an agreement that when the day comes that your don comes to you and asks you for a favor, you will do a service for him,” she said. “It’s like right out of ‘The Godfather.’”

9 comments:

Kris Sergentakis said...

Any non connected Citizen would be in prison already with no bail.

Another Judge on the take.

leukemiascandal.com

Anonymous said...

We'll have to throw out all criminal convictions if the perpetrator doesn't admit intent! (But,only if that's the judge's whim of the day) Another day and more corruption within the 2nd Circuit.

Anonymous said...

A meeting of the minds can be inferred - to show that there was a conspiracy. Most conspirators do not sign contracts with each other.

The Judge fixed this one.

Anonymous said...

Criminals in black robes.

Anonymous said...

New York invented the term, "THE FIX IS IN."
It means that your case has been fixed, rigged- the outcome is fully known. Facts, truth, evidence nor the rule of law mean anything. Corruption's moto: THE FIX IS IN.....

Anonymous said...

Is this the best case that the US Attorneys Office and the FBI could put together? They are all in the tank! We the citizens were soldout once again! Fire them all and take their pensions!

Anonymous said...

The Judge "HINTS" the fix is in! everything in Westchester is fixed and has been for along time! just ask Nick Spano!

Anonymous said...

The fix is in, Trust Me!

Anonymous said...

Nick Spano's guy JJ was in love, can you beleive that and it is his cousin! Do you think he ever heard of incest?

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