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March 31, 2012

The Yonkers corruption case and the chances for a reversal

Atlantic Yards Report

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.

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The Journal News, Skeptical judge in Annabi case may consider bid to dismiss

Defense motions to dismiss the charges after the prosecution’s case or set aside the verdict in the event of a conviction are routine.

But during the trial, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon signaled doubt in the government’s evidence. She wondered what proof prosecutors had that the $174,000 Jereis paid Annabi over the years had anything to do with the councilwoman’s eventual decision to change her vote and approve Yonkers’ largest ever real estate project, the Ridge Hill housing and retail development.

NoLandGrab: The jurors obviously believed that there was ample evidence of guilt, and that the government proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, or they would not have convicted Annabi and Jereis on every single count. If Judge McMahon were to throw out the conviction, it would amount to reverse jury nullification, and beg the question of why the court should bother with juries at all.

Posted by eric at March 31, 2012 11:38 PM