Full Court Press
Law & Order
Mayor Bill de Blasio today made good on a campaign promise, laying out a deal to end the city’s appeal of a federal court ruling that deemed the NYPD’s implementation of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional.
Under the deal, the city will accept Judge Shira Scheindlin’s assessment that the the Bloomberg administration engaged in racial profiling and move to settle case.
Three more businessmen have pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson to pass favorable legislation, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced this evening.
Disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer managed to collect a whopping 27,000 petition signatures in the four days since he announced his last-minute, comeback bid for city comptroller.
A beaming Mr. Spitzer, joined by staffers, arrived at the Board of Elections headquarters in Lower Manhattan shortly after 10:30 p.m. carting four large boxes of signed petitions–which he gleefully displayed to the throngs of waiting press.
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty in February to falsifying evidence and attempting to cover up her embezzle efforts, was sentenced in court today to a year and a day in jail. In addition, she will have to pay $87,700 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The crux of this case has always been the defendant Shirley Huntley’s greed and self-interest,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement. “Promising to provide much needed assistance to the parents of New York City public schoolchildren, … Shirley Huntley violated the public trust and betrayed her constituents by stealing public funds for her own benefit.”
Ms. Lynch added, “Today’s sentence should send a clear message: we will bring to justice those who corrupt the system of laws upon which our community relies.”
This afternoon, courts released a sentencing document for State Senator Shirley Huntley, detailing her cooperation with federal authorities in the wake of her arrest in a bribery scheme. After a slew of corruption scandals have rocked New York State politics in recent weeks, including several of Ms. Huntley’s Albany colleagues, particular attention was placed on the names of officials and staffers caught in Ms. Huntley’s wiretaps. There are nine names on the list.
Law & Order
Earlier today, the state Supreme Court blocked New York City’s controversial attempt to ban large cups for sugary drinks in restaurants and other food establishments. The ruling, which you can view below, blasted the ban as “arbitrary and capricious,” ultimately creating “an administrative Leviathan.” The rules were scheduled to go into effect tomorrow.
“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the City, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds and the loopholes inherent in the Rule, including but not limited to no limitations on re-fills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the Rule,” Judge Milton Tingling ruled.
This afternoon, just as comptroller and likely 2013 mayoral candidate John Liu appeared alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference discussing the post-Sandy state of the city’s finances, legal arguments got underway this afternoon in the trial of his supporter Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan and his young campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou, who are being accused of participating in a conspiracy to direct illegal contributions to Mr. Liu’s war chest. In the courtroom today, Judge Richard Sullivan rejected four pre-trial motions requested by Mr. Pan and Ms. Hou’s attorneys and ordered the trial to begin as scheduled February 4.
Law & Order
Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook, who ended up in a deadlocked jury last December as he was facing 12 charges, was retried and found guilty on 9 of those charges earlier today, which reportedly include bribery, money laundering and fraud.
“Councilman Larry Seabrook abused the power of his office to influence public contracts and to fund his own corrupt friends and family plan,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said, according to the New York Post.
This morning, New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx held a hearing in the matter of Adriano Espaillat vs. The Board of Elections in The City of New York addressing issues with the counting of ballots and alleged voter suppression in the increasingly close congressional race between veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Lawyers for both candidates and the Board of Elections appeared before Judge John Carter who, in a small victory for the Espaillat campaign, ruled all ballots cast in the June 26 election must be preserved and barred the BOE from transmitting results to the New York State Board of Elections once they are certified so that the Court may review any disputed paper ballots, alleged instances of voter supression and issues with the results from the electronic voting machines. Those issues will be examined in another hearing scheduled for July 11. Judge Carter’s ruling also left open the possibility that a “new primary election” will be held “upon a finding that there has been such fraud and irregularity as to render impossible a determination” of who won last week’s election.
Nearly three days after polls closed in the congressional race between Rep. Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the final result still hasn’t been announced and lawyers for Mr. Espaillat are headed to State Supreme Court on Monday to seek an injunction against the City Board of Elections to be allowed to observe the ongoing vote count. On election night earlier this week, the Board of Elections released numbers that indicated Mr. Rangel had won with an insurmountable margin of victory. Since then, reports have emerged of uncounted votes and Mr. Espaillat’s supporters have called for a federal monitor to step in.
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision to hold a hearing on the Board of Elections’ proceedings in the 13th Congressional District race,” Mr. Espaillat said in a statement announcing the court date. “Three days after a winner was declared in this election, there are still votes to be counted. There are more than 70 election districts where votes have not been accounted for….Our campaign has not been allowed to adequately monitor the Board of Elections’ proceedings, as required by law. The BOE continues to stonewall not only our campaign, but also the news media, which is particularly disturbing given that it blocks the free flow of information and transparency – the bedrock of our democratic system.”