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Perez Attorneys Oppose Combining Two Cases

By Jeffrey B. Cohen

November 02, 2009

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Attorneys for Mayor Eddie A. Perez say state prosecutors have derailed the mayor's chance for a fair and quick trial and objected to a request to combine the two cases against him.

The mayor would "suffer substantial prejudice if the charges are joined for trial," according to a memorandum the mayor's attorneys said they filed Monday in Hartford Superior Court.

Perez is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a hearing on whether to combine the two pending cases. Perez, the focus of an 18-month state investigation into allegations of corruption at city hall, was arrested twice this year -- in January on bribery-related charges and in September on charges relating to attempted extortion.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Oct. 23, the mayor's attorney, Hubert Santos, filed a motion with Judge Julia Dewey asking her to delay Wednesday's hearing. Dewey denied that motion last week.

After Perez was arrested in January, Santos called for a quick trial. But Santos says now that the mayor's second arrest complicated matters, making a quick trial impossible.

In his motion objecting to joining the two cases, Santos says there is a large amount of evidence to review, that he has a full trial calendar through the end of the year, and that consolidating the two cases would mean a lengthy trial -- which would mean a jury of "retirees, state workers or employees of large corporations." That would make it difficult for Perez to "be judged in part by the minority community that he serves."

Santos said there are "few, if any efficiency advantages to the consolidation of two complex trials into one enormously complex trial."

Click on the link in "Related Links" for the Santos memorandum:

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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