Judge And Lawyers Discuss Juror Instructions In Perez Trial
June 16, 2010
The judge and the lawyers in Mayor Eddie A. Perez's corruption case discussed the delicate matter of how to instruct the jury on the charges of bribery, evidence fabrication, and attempted larceny by extortion that the mayor faces.
Final arguments in the mayor's case are scheduled for Wednesday morning, followed by instructions to the jury by Superior Court Judge Julia D. Dewey.
The judge's instructions run about 30 pages. The prosecution and derfense were both invited to submit suggested instructions, and the draft from defense lawyers Hubert Santos and Hope Seeley ran 134 pages.
Over the past four weeks, the jury heard city contractor Carlos Costa say he did about $40,000 worth of work at the mayor's house with no expectation of being paid, and with the intent of increasing access to the mayor. The mayor paid $20,000 for the home renovation work — two years after it was done and following an interview in which he was confronted by investigators.
Santos contends that the state did not prove that an agreement — favored treatment for Costa in exchange for a benefit for the mayor — existed between the two men, and he urged the judge to reflect that in her instructions.
Prosecutor Michael Gailor said the law does not require an agreed-upon quid pro quo for bribery to have occurred.
The mayor is also charged with attempted larceny by extortion and conspiracy in connection with a demand by Abraham Giles to be paid $100,000 by a developer to vacate a city-owned parking lot on land that the developer wanted to buy.
Developer Joseph Citino testified that the mayor told him after viewing his plans for a condominium and shopping complex at 1161 and 1143 Main St. that he would have to "take care" of Giles or there would be no deal.
Santos said Tuesday that "there may be many reasons why a public official wants someone to be taken care of. That's not a crime. There could be a purely political reason for this. I don't think that's extortion.''
Gailor said that Citino feared financial loss — and that fear constitutes extortion.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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