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March 20, 2012

Defendant Jereis cross-examined in Yonkers corruption trial: contestations, contradictions, and a major question: were the lovesick emails a sham?

Atlantic Yards Report

As defendant Zehy Jereis underwent a tough cross-examination yesterday, the Yonkers corruption trial in U.S. District Court turned into a stew of contestations and contradictions.

Jereis, a local politico accused of using $174,000 in cash and gifts to control the vote of former Council Member Sandy Annabi, who flipped on two development projects (Longfellow, and Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill), was steady but sometimes evasive in denying not only the accusations facing him but also statements about him by a range of witnesses, including those from Forest City regarding their discussions with him.

And prosecutors raised significant questions--but no more--about the legitimacy of the stream of emails from Jereis to Annabi professing his love for her and, according to the defendant, explaining the reason for his generosity. They were found on Annabi's computer--which also had a wave of deletions--but not Jereis's computer.

An expert witness testified that no "remnants" of the opened emails could be found on Annabi's computer, which exhibited signs of potential tampering, and no sign of them--or responses to them--on Jereis's computer, though he acknowledged that he neither could explain more about the tampering or whether Jereis used another device.

And one email referred incorrectly to the date of a payment Jereis sent, which prosecutors suggested was a sign they were made up later.


Related coverage...

The Journal News, Computer expert at Yonkers corruption trial: No evidence of Jereis love notes

The emails Zehy Jereis purportedly sent former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi expressing his love for her in 2005 and 2006 could not be found on his computer hard drive, a Rockland County detective who is an expert in computer forensics testified at their federal corruption trial Monday.

Detective Shlomo Koenig also said that an analysis of Annabi's computer, where the emails were found, indicated that dates in her AOL "folder" — usually listed chronologically — were out of order in early 2007, just after the federal probe of Annabi had begun.

"That showed me that something about this folder is not the way it's supposed to be," said Koenig, who works for the computer crimes unit of the Rockland Sheriff's Department and is also assigned to Secret Service and FBI task forces on computer crimes.

The New York Times, Doubt Cast on Defendant’s Romantic E-Mails

Mr. Jereis, 40, testified last week that he made the payments to Ms. Annabi, 41, because he was in love with her. His lawyer, Anthony J. Siano, introduced a series of e-mails that his client purportedly sent to her in 2005 and 2006, apparently to show that his recollections were accurate.

But a prosecutor, Jason P. W. Halperin, focusing on a discrepancy between Mr. Jereis’s testimony and a date in one e-mail, said, “You forget the date, sir, because you made up these e-mails years later.”

Talk of the Sound, Yonkers Corruption Trial Provides Glimpse into the Seedy World of Westchester Poliitics

Norman Oder writing on the Atlantic Yards Report provides an excellent, must read synopsis on the Yonkers Corruption Trial involving Noam Bramson's favorite developer, Forest City/Ratner, more commonly known on Talk of the Sound as "Developer #1".

Posted by eric at March 20, 2012 10:27 AM