Focus Of Corruption Trial Returns To Actions Of Jail Officers’ Union Chief
Rechnitz was nonetheless central to both sides’ closing arguments. As he had during 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 collectively an alternative narrative of what happened in Mr. Rechnitz’s office that December night, when, Mr. Rechnitz stated, he crammed a Salvatore Ferragamo bag with cash before assembly Mr. Seabrook for dinner. The bag did not contain money, Mr. Shechtman said; it contained Cuban cigars, which Mr. Rechnitz knew Mr. Seabrook favored.
Mr. Shechtman pointed to surveillance footage of Mr. Rechnitz leaving his office constructing, the bag hanging loosely from his arm.
“Nobody carries $60,000 that way,” Mr. Shechtman said.
And he reminded jurors that Mr. Rechnitz had initially instructed government investigators, in 2016, that he paid Mr. Seabrook in 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 mentioned; Mr. Rechnitz, who pleaded responsible to a fraud conspiracy cost, is cooperating with the government within the hopes of a lowered sentence.
“You’ve simply bribed a major union official in New York City and also you can’t remember the time of day ” Mr. Shechtman stated. “The greatest problem with making up a story is that it’s exhausting to maintain it straight.”
Government legal professionals, for their half, acknowledged that parts of Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony had been unsavory, in both content material and tone.
“If this had been a persona contest, he’d be a loser,” Russell Capone, one other prosecutor, stated. “If this had been a morality contest, he wouldn’t be allowed to take part.”
Mr. Capone accused defense lawyers of using Mr. Rechnitz’s standoffish persona and admitted criminal acts to distract from Mr. Seabrook’s personal criminal conduct — behavior that, he said, could be confirmed even with out Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony, through wiretaps and emails. Capone ferragamo spectator shoes mentioned. “You will see that he’s just the cherry on top, the final confirmation.”
Mr. Rechnitz’s unsavory previous was more reason to imagine his testimony about Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Capone said.
“The individuals who can tell you about crimes are the individuals who dedicated them,” he said.
Neither side made more than passing allusions ferragamo spectator shoes 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 in depth time each government and defense legal professionals had devoted to the subject during Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony (Federal and state inquiries into Mr. de Blasio’s fund-elevating practices did not result in prices.) The closest anyone received to acknowledging those claims came when Mr. Shechtman referred to Mr. Seabrook’s one-time political aspirations.
Mr. Seabrook had wished 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 a good act,” Mr. Shechtman said. “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 just another high-profile target for Mr. Rechnitz. And he became the best man to hand to prosecutors in Mr. Rechnitz’s quest for leniency.
“He was the top of a serious, main union in the town,” Mr. Shechtman said.