Tag Archive: Court

Mar 12 2014

Judge Denies Request From Embattled Pols

judge

Truth and justice cannot await.

Save the date.

A request to postpone the corruption trial of embattled former City Councilman Dan Halloran, GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone,  and state Sen. Malcolm Smith was denied last week and will proceed as set on June 2nd.

[From The Queens Gazette] A federal court judge has refused to delay the June 2 corruption trial of embattled state Sen. Malcom Smith, former City Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone. 

Attorneys for the three disgraced politicos last month requested that the trial be delayed to the end of the year, so it would not interfere with the 2013 primary elections. But Judge Kenneth Karas, who is overseeing the trial in White Plains, issued a finding on February 28 in which he denied the request for postponement.

Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2013, for allegedly plotting to bribe Republican Party officials for a spot on the party’s 2013 primary ballot. The indictment also charged Halloran, Tabone and others in the scheme. Smith, 56, and Halloran, 42, face up to 45 years in prison if convicted. 
The indictment charges that Smith, a democrat, allegedly sought help from Halloran, a conservative Republican, to get his name on the Republican Party primary. As a Democrat, Smith, under current law, needed Republican Party support in at least three boroughs to run as a Republican candidate without changing his party affiliation, authorities said.

Prosecutors charge that Smith, in an attempt to gather that support, asked Halloran to schedule meetings with Republican Party leaders and negotiate thousands of dollars in bribes. Meanwhile, Halloran and Tabone pocketed thousands of dollars of the bribe money, prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys for Smith and Halloran say their client’s actions are not considered bribery under New York state law and are asking the court to toss some of the charges.
Karas said Smith, Halloran and Tabone will go on trial on June 2, as originally planneed.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/03/halloran-tabone-smith-face-setbacks-in-courtroom/

Sep 27 2013

The Return of Jimmy McMillan; Wins Court Battle To Appear On Mayoral Ballot

He’s back. This November, Jimmy will appear on the ballot under the Rent is 2 Damn High ticket.

Watch the music video here, or read the full story on The Daily News.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/jimmy-mcmillan-returns-rent-is-too-damn-high/

Dec 20 2011

Miscarriage Of Justice: Golem Sentenced To Brief Prison Term

I'll be back, said John Haggerty. My lawyers will be appealing the verdict on the grounds that becoming the laughingstock is restitution for the crimes I've committed.

Infamous political operative John Haggerty, who stole 750,000 from Mayor Bloomberg and used it to buy a lavish house in Forest Hills was sentenced yesterday to 3-4 years of hard time following his conviction on second-degree grand larceny and second-degree money laundering charges.

During the trial, Haggerty’s lawyers portrayed him as an ‘honorable’ and  ‘well-respected man’ who had made a severe error, according to the New York Times. Obviously they never met him, although going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

Get this, Judge Zweibel believed John’s prison conviction would restore faith in the political system. Meanwhile, it did not. Over 40 well-wishers – presumably all the Republicans in South Queens wrote letters on John’s behalf to the Judge vouching for his character and pleading for leniency.

So much for Justice.

 

New York Times: Addressing the court, Mr. Haggerty, who is divorced and has no children, admitted that the positive reputation he had cultivated throughout his long career in the inner circles of New York politics had been destroyed by his crime.

“I can only do what is right in the future,” he said.

Justice Zweibel ordered Mr. Haggerty to pay restitution of $750,000, the amount he was convicted of stealing from Mr. Bloomberg by tricking his campaign aides into donating to the state’s Independence Party in 2009. Mr. Haggerty had promised to use the money to set up an Election Day voting-security operation, but instead used the money to buy a house, prosecutors said.

Mr. Haggerty was taken from the courtroom to begin serving his sentence immediately.

His lawyers plan to appeal the verdict.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/12/miscarriage-of-justice/

Oct 17 2011

On The Front Line Of Occupy Wall Street…A Lawyer Named Yetta.

Yetta Kurland, a civl rights litigator and an activist says her primary concern is the use of excessive force by the NYPD against Occupy demonstrators. "It's a HUGE curtailment of our first amendment rights," said Yetta. Picture from FB.

QP Exclusive: The Wall Street Movement is not going away, says Yetta Kurland a civil rights activist and former city council candidate from Manhattan’s West side. Yetta is a lawyer, no not a blood sucking corporate lawyer, she’s the people’s rep, a civil right’s litigator and she’s been working pro bono for the demonstrators arrested down at Wall Street.

Yetta really knows her issues and the law. In the interest of bringing QP readers a front line perspective, we decided to interview her.

QP Interviews Yetta Kurland:

 Yetta, what’s the scene like at Wall Street?

Yetta begins by saying it’s been more calm but, “You know what’s amazing? The visuals of the Times Square and Washington Square. The movement has grown so massive and very tense, riot gear and horses were out with significant arrests nearly 100 arrests but not mass arrests that folks were concerned with”.

You just can’t arrest that many people,” according to Yetta.

I understand you’ve been down at the courthouse volunteering your legal services as an attorney on behalf of demonstrators. Can you tell me more about that?

“I have been volunteering, it includes arraignment at the court house, and visiting precincts.” It’s easy to get lost in the system, said Yetta who has split her time between visiting precincts and at the courthouse at 100 Centre Street for more than 100 arrestees. “It can be extremely time consuming  — keeping track of those arrested,” she said. It’s a lot of work [and] it’s unfortunate and frankly unnecessary. 

“My primary concern is excessive force.”

“On one of my cases, Ari Douglass was horribly injured by police who basically ran into him knocked him over and left him pinned under a motorcycle, and in response rather than giving him care, they gave him a number of criminal charges including criminal mischief, and resisting arrest.”

“If you look at the video, he’s clearly not.”

So, what are the demonstrations being charged with?

“Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrests, Obstruction of Government administration– different charges routinely used. Ari was charged with criminal mischief. Criminal mischief depending on the degree s a felony charge.”

When Occupy Wall Street began, did you predict an end – that is for the demonstration to fizzle out?

“I don’t think this is going to fizzle out. I don’t think weve seen the full momentum of the movement.”

“971 cities across the world, Rome Los Angelas, London, Chicago. 175 arrests. Folks are willing to put themselves on the line.

Yetta continues, “When we see brutality you see more people coming out in solidarity. I don’t see any thing fizzling out.  There is obviously a question about the cities want to shutdown the efforts and weather or not the folks will be able to continue there. Last week was a great victory they were supposed to shutdown the park – and they didn’t. We are moving forward and everyday is a victory… I think that these occupiers are reclaiming public space — public spaces for the public good, I mean the public interest.”

Its really resonating not just with New Yorkers. It is true the whole world is watching this…. I don’t see this coming to an end anytime soon I see this as transformative.:”

What do you think will be the outcome on a national level?

“I hope that the outcome on the national level  is that we reinvest the public sector. I hope that we find ways to prioritize the collective public interest of our country and to seperate government from private interest — that we have check and balances to ensure a free democratic society.”

Are you advocating electoral reform?

“I think it has to happen on every level, electoral, corporate, financial reform in the way we do business reform in the way the NYPD tactics to deal with protesters in public space.

 This is a referendum on police tactics post 9\11. Riot gear, massive arrests… It is a huge curtailment of our first amendment rights.

What’s your next step to support the movement?

“My only role is to act as an attorney to represent the folks down there.”

At the time of this interview, Yetta was traveling to the courthouse at 100 Centre Street.  “There’s additional activities and well keep monitoring and helping to deal with people that have been arrested. We have to go back to work perhaps go to trial. It’s a lot of expense.”

Yetta points out that the police presence is costing an exorbitant amount of tax dollars:

“Every time a huge group of police officers there’s a lot of costs involved in that we complain about financial difficulties we shouldn’t waste tax payer dollars for that.”

What do yo think about Mayor Bloomberg extolling the virtues of free speech, but denouncing the demonstration on Bloomberg radio?

“Confusing—“I’m not sure what he means by that… and free speech is exactly that: It’s not always with something you agree, or even with the medium. He’s lost in his position.

Curious, are you thinking of running for public office  again?

Oh I don’t know— it’s years away, but if I do, I’ll let you know.”

See Politicker NY article.

What’s your message to all the naysayers out there? You know – armchair politicians?

“Come down to Liberty Park and talk to the people. Remember that its easy to step back and not want to be involved or engaged. Bob Dylan said the times they are changing and if you have to wrap your head around that,” said Yetta.

“It’s undeniable. It’s not for us to naysay it’s much bigger… it’s a social movement.”

“History is being made by brave minded making a stand and standing up to simply ask for integrity in our system and that we have a balancing of our powers a truly democratic society,” according to Yetta.

Keep up the good work – QP. If you need to contact Yetta, email yetta@yettakurland.com.

A photo of Yetta during her bid for City Council (3rd district) against Council Speaker Christie Quinn.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/on-the-front-line-of-occupy-wall-street-a-lawyer-named-yetta/

Oct 03 2011

Chairman Or Chairmen? Robert Hornak On The Power Grab For Control Of The Queens GOP

Queens GOP Spokesman Robert Hornak interviews with Queens-Politics.

The Queens GOP is locking horns with what I call, the Southern Insurrection. It’s all over the news and political insiders are getting giddy. While the the criminal trial of political operative John Haggerty is underway, a renewed battle is now being fought again for control of a party once thought to be insolvent.

In an exclusive  interview with Robert Hornak, spokesman for the Queens GOP, Queens-Politics got the inside scoop of what’s going to go down in the next few days. Here’s the interview:

Q. Robert, why is Tom Ognibene attempting to usurp the GOP party?

Robert gives some background and presents Ognibene’s motive(s):

A. That’s a really good question, Adam. Ognibene has been in political limbo since he was term-limited out of the City Council and named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a 2001, case involving bribe-taking and building-code inspectors.

“Ognibene wanted to be a judge, but considering the nature of his case, it wasn’t going to happen”

Then he [Ognibene] ran for Mayor, said Hornak, and he was subsequently knocked off the ballot by the Haggertys. Hornak chuckles…

“The GOP went with Bloomberg and Tom got very angry,” said Hornak, adding “Ognibene once called the Hagggertys ‘poison in the well’, now he [Ognibene] is anti-Ragusa.” According to Hornak, the reasons for this alliance are not confirmed. “No one can explain why,” he said.

Q. So, What makes Ragusa the better choice for the Queens GOP?

A. “Where do I start?” asked Hornak, rhetorically. “Ragusa energized the party, and continues to do so. he recruited young people with skill sets to run with the ball,” said Hornak and he [Ragusa] is open to new ideas like harnessing digital communication technology to bring the party up-to-date with new voters.

Q. Sounds packaged, tell the readers of Queens-Politics more about  him.

“He reinvigorated the party,” referring to Ragusa. After he said that, I probed a little further:

Hornak claimed Ragusa has been growing the party and reaching out to immigrant communities.

“We’ve found a lot of new immigrant communities that lean conservative and we’ve reached out to them with success.“Phil has worked tirelessly on this,” said Hornak.

In terms of political success, Ragusa was instrumental in electing Halloran, Koo, fund-raising, and now he’s working on judgeships, according to Hornak.

Q. So, You guys were instrumental in electing City Council Member Eric Ulrich, why is Eric going off the reservation with his endorsement for Tom Ognibene?

A. “He’s off the reservation completely…Eric is somewhat immature and short-sighted for an elected official. It’s probably to feed his ego and personal aspirations.” Hornak added that while Ulrich interjected himself  into party politics, he has neglected the community he was elected to serve.

Q. What is your prediction regarding the judge’s decision?

 “My prediction is that we’ll see clearly from evidence than Tom Ognibene was never Chairman.”

Even if he is elected, a far fetched scenario he laments,

 “Ognibene is [still] a puppet put up by the Haggertys, John Haggerty would be the new Chairman even if Ognibene succeeds in court.”

Q. I know similar events happened two years ago, are we to expect this every time the County Chair is up for grabs?

A. “I think this is their last hurrah, John Haggerty will be in a state-house [prison] and Tom Ognibene… he’ll find something else to do.”

Q. What message would you like to send to the Haggerty brothers, Tom Ognibene, and Eric Ulrich?

“Come to the table and work with us.”

Hornak said their have been a multitude of instances to extend an olive-branch and come to the table for negotiation with the Southern faction for the sake of party unity. “Every attempt at outreach has been rebuffed or ignored,” said Hornak. “The Haggertys are into nothing less than full control.”

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/qp-exclusive-interview-with-robert-hornak-director-of-communications-for-the-queens-county-republican-party/


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