Focus Of Corruption Trial Returns To Actions Of Jail Officers’ Union Chief
Rechnitz was nonetheless central to both sides’ closing arguments. As he had throughout cross-examination of Mr. Rechnitz, Paul Shechtman, Mr. Seabrook’s lawyer, seized upon inconsistencies in Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony and branded him a “consummate con man.”
Mr. Shechtman additionally pieced together an alternate narrative of what occurred in Mr. Rechnitz’s office that December night, when, Mr. Rechnitz stated, he stuffed a Salvatore Ferragamo bag with cash before assembly Mr. Seabrook for dinner. The bag didn’t include money, Mr. Shechtman stated; it contained Cuban cigars, which Mr. Rechnitz knew Mr. Seabrook favored.
Mr. Shechtman pointed to surveillance footage of Mr. Rechnitz leaving his workplace constructing, the bag hanging loosely from his arm.
“Nobody carries $60,000 that manner,” Mr. Shechtman stated.
And he reminded jurors that Mr. Rechnitz had initially told government investigators, in 2016, that he paid Mr. Seabrook within the late morning or early afternoon of Dec. Eleven. That inconsistency was evidence that Mr. Rechnitz was framing Mr. Seabrook to win the government’s favor, Mr. Shechtman said; Mr. Rechnitz, who pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy cost, is cooperating with the federal government in the hopes of a decreased sentence.
“You’ve just bribed a significant union official in New York Metropolis and also you can’t remember the time of day ” Mr. Shechtman stated. “The largest problem with making up a story is that it’s hard to keep it straight.”
Authorities legal professionals, for his or her part, acknowledged that components of Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony had been unsavory, in each content and tone.
“If this were a character contest, he’d be a loser,” Russell Capone, another prosecutor, stated. “If this were a morality contest, he wouldn’t be allowed to take part.”
Mr. Capone accused defense legal professionals of using Mr. Rechnitz’s standoffish persona and admitted criminal acts to distract from Mr. Seabrook’s personal criminal conduct — habits that, he said, may very well be proven even without Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony, by means of wiretaps and emails. Capone stated. “You will see that he’s simply the cherry on prime, the final affirmation.”
Mr. Rechnitz’s unsavory previous was more motive to imagine his testimony about Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Capone stated.
“The individuals who can inform you about crimes are the individuals who dedicated them,” he stated.
Neither side made greater than passing allusions to allegations of a pay-to-play scheme with Mr. de Blasio that Mr. Rechnitz detailed throughout his six days on the witness stand — a notable absence given the extensive time each authorities and protection legal professionals had devoted to the subject throughout Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony (Federal and ferragamo belt yahoo state inquiries into ferragamo belt yahoo Mr. de Blasio’s fund-raising practices didn’t result in charges.) The closest anyone obtained to acknowledging those claims got here when Mr. Shechtman referred to Mr. Seabrook’s one-time political aspirations.
Mr. Seabrook had needed to get near Mr. Rechnitz because Mr. Rechnitz was a recognized political fund-raiser, Mr. Shechtman said, and Mr. Seabrook was toying with the idea of a mayoral run.
“You can fault Norman Seabrook for falling for Jona’s act. But it is an effective act,” Mr. Shechtman mentioned. “Many individuals in this metropolis fell for it — folks in politics, actual estate, law enforcement, finance.”
The highly effective Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Shechtman advised, was simply another excessive-profile target for Mr. Rechnitz. And he turned the ideal man at hand to prosecutors in Mr. Rechnitz’s quest for leniency.
“He was the top of a significant, main union in the town,” Mr. Shechtman said.