Trial Of Ex-NYC Union Head, Platinum Partners Co-founder Winds Down
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The federal corruption trial of Norman Seabrook, the former head of recent York City’s correction officers’ union, and Murray Huberfeld, a co-founding father of defunct hedge fund Platinum Partners, got here to a close on Tuesday, with arguments specializing in the credibility of prosecutors’ star witness.
That witness, Jona Rechnitz, had advised jurors in Manhattan federal courtroom that he handed $60,000 in money stuffed in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag to Seabrook, who once led the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.
Rechnitz stated the December 2014 payment was part of a bribery scheme during which Seabrook steered $20 million of union funds into Platinum, whereas Huberfeld had Platinum reimburse Rechnitz. Seabrook and Huberfeld are charged with conspiracy and fraud.
Rechnitz, a former real property government and one-time fundraiser for brand spanking new York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio, has pleaded responsible to a corruption charge, and is cooperating with prosecutors.
Assistant U.S. Lawyer Kan Nawaday conceded that Rechnitz, by his own admission, had not been trustworthy previously.
“He’s a criminal, and he’s done horrible issues,” he mentioned.
Nonetheless, Nawaday stated, Rechnitz’s testimony fit with other proof, including travel records, tens of 1000’s of dollars in money present in Seabrook’s dwelling, and the Ferragamo bag itself, on display in the courtroom.
Seabrook’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, began his argument with a litany of Rechnitz’s admitted misdeeds, which included searching for a place as police chaplain in Westchester County solely so as to realize authorities privileges and falsifying a gun permit utility.
He said Rechnitz was lying to avoid wasting himself, and that without his testimony, the rest of the evidence was not sufficient to convict Seabrook.
“Jona is the government’s one actual witness on this case,” Shechtman mentioned.
Henry Mazurek, Huberfeld’s lawyer, similarly focused on Rechnitz.
“You can’t convict an innocent man on the premise of that man’s phrase,” Mazurek mentioned of Rechnitz.
Rechnitz’s most explosive testimony during the trial was not about Seabrook or wear shoes with socks ferragamo Huberfeld, but about de Blasio. He instructed jurors that he routinely called de Blasio on his personal cellphone to ask for favors and that he obtained “outcomes.”
De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips on the time dismissed Rechnitz’s testimony as “reheated, repackaged accusations” and noted that state and federal prosecutors closed an investigation into de Blasio’s fundraising practices in March with out bringing any costs.
U.S. District Decide Andrew Carter is expected to instruct the jury on Wednesday. The jurors will then begin deliberating.