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Perez Grand Jury Report To Be Discussed In Court Monday


July 07, 2009

A state judge has scheduled a hearing next week on whether to publicly disclose his long-awaited final report in the grand jury investigation of corruptionallegationsin the administration of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez.

Several attorneys representing clients involved in the inquiry say they've been asked to appear at Superior Court in New Britain on Monday to argue whether the report should be sealed.

The move is the latest in the investigation that brought the mayor's arrest on charges of bribery, falsifying evidence, and conspiracy to falsify evidence earlier this year. The secret grand jury, which sat for 18 months, ended roughly two months ago.

Since then, all attention has been on Superior Court Judge Dennis Eveleigh, who is serving as the one-man, investigative grand juror. By law, Eveleigh has 60 days from the end of the investigation to file his report. Several attorneys involved in the investigation last week said they expected the report to be filed Monday, although it's unclear whether that happened.

By law, Eveleigh's report is to be made public seven calendar days after it is filed unless state prosecutors file a motion to keep it sealed.

If that happens, state law mandates the grand jury shall hold a hearing on the motion after informing prosecutors and "any other person the investigatory grand jury deems to be an interested party to the proceedings, which may include, but not be limited to, persons who testified or were the subject of testimony before the investigatory grand jury."

The court then has five calendar days to rule.

It's unclear just what, if anything, will come of the report and whether Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane will seek additional arrests. His office was closed Monday for everything but non-emergency services.

Meanwhile, the sense of anticipation at city hall and among city insiders was palpable.

City council Minority Leader Larry Deutsch had a couple of hours to spare Monday morning, so he drove out to the New Britain court to see if he could get a copy of Eveleigh's report.

He couldn't.

"I would say the mood is one of suspense, for one thing," Deutsch said. He said "concern and worry" also applied.

"The cloud of concern has people relating in an almost adversarial way, rather than a constructive way," Deutsch said. "It's a mood which isn't so good."

Hubert J. Santos, Perez's attorney, declined to comment.

In January, Perez and city contractor Carlos Costa were arrested on bribery and other charges related to allegedly discounted work done on Perez's kitchen and bathroom. Costa, who charged Perez about $20,000 for what Costa said was $40,000 worth of work, said he never expected to get paid; Perez has said he always intended to pay, although he didn't do so until investigators began their work.

Both men pleaded not guilty. Perez's case is to go to trial in October.

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