It will be at least seven months before Mayor Eddie A. Perez faces bribery and other charges against him at a jury trial.
But even as the clock winds down on the tenure of the grand jury investigating Perez and allegations of corruption at city hall, investigators continue their work.
On Thursday — minutes after Perez's lawyer appeared in Superior Court in Hartford — investigators with the chief state's attorney's office were spotted coming out of the city hall office of former city employee Edward Lazu, who was arrested in January on bribery and other charges.
Within the past week, investigators have contacted several members of the 5th District of the city's Democratic town committee, home to longtime politician Abraham L. Giles. Giles has not been charged, but has been at the center of allegations that Perez traded potentially lucrative parking lot contracts for political influence.
Paul Ritter, a 5th District town committee member and Giles' friend, said he met recently with state investigators. So did Marc DiBella, who said investigators have been reaching out to the town committee over the past week.
State Rep. Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey, another 5th District member, said she met with investigators last Friday.
"They wanted to know if there was any information that we were aware of or had heard of relative to the various transactions that had been enacted by Eddie and Abe," said Kirkley-Bey, who beat Giles in a primary last summer. "I told them Abe hates me. … He's not going to tell me anything but how to go to hell."
Ludella Perry Williams, another 5th District member, said she met with investigators last week.
The investigator wanted to know "about Giles and Eddie's friendship. I told him I didn't know anything about their personal friendship."
Reached on his cellphone, Giles said he, too, has been contacted by investigators recently. Asked what they were interested in, Giles was quick to reply, "I have absolutely no idea."
Perez was arrested in January on charges of bribery, fabricating evidence and conspiring to fabricate evidence. The charges are related to allegedly discounted work done on his Bloomfield Avenue home by city contractor Carlos Costa.
Perez was to be in court Thursday morning but did not appear. Instead, his lawyer, Hubert J. Santos, met with prosecutors and Judge Julia Dewey for a scheduling conference. According to Santos, a hearing on his motion to dismiss the case will be held May 8, jury selection will be in September, and a trial could begin in October.
Lazu, a former city contract compliance supervisor accused of trading favorable treatment of Costa for a new driveway at Lazu's Hartford home, also was in court Thursday. Lazu's lawyer, Richard Brown, said prosecutors have agreed to try Lazu's case separately from Perez's.
Both Perez and Lazu have pleaded not guilty. The grand jury's term expires at the end of April.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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