Judge's Decision Due In Five Days On Perez Investigation
Will Consider Arguments For Release Of Findings In Corruption Case
JEFFREY B. COHEN
July 21, 2009
NEW BRITAIN - — A state court judge has five calendar days to decide whether he will make public his final report in the secret 18-month probe into allegations of corruption in the administration of Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
Superior Court Judge Dennis Eveleigh held nearly three hours of closed-door arguments Monday — first on whether The Courant should be allowed to intervene in the case, and then on whether his final report should be public.
After allowing the newspaper's attorney into the private session for argument, Eveleigh granted The Courant's motion to intervene. Attorneys then argued whether to seal the report. The hearing ended shortly after noon. By law, Eveleigh now has five calendar days to render his decision.
Perez was arrested in January and pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, fabricating evidence and conspiracy to fabricate evidence relating to allegedly discounted work done on his home by a city contractor — Carlos Costa. Costa was also arrested and has pleaded not guilty.
State law says that final reports of investigatory grand juries are public documents seven calendar days after they are filed, unless the Office of the Chief State's Attorney files a motion to keep the document sealed. The law then says that the grand juror must hold a hearing on whether to seal the report. That was Monday's hearing.
Also by law, Eveleigh "shall deny" a motion to keep the report sealed unless it makes "specific findings of fact that there is a substantial probability" that public disclosure could do one of four things, including damage a person's right to a fair trial.
Before the second hearing began, William Champlin III, an attorney for the newspaper, asked that the hearing be open to the public; Eveleigh decided to keep the hearing closed.
But in the room for the two hearings were Hubert Santos, Perez's attorney, and Jack Kelly, a lawyer who represents Abraham L. Giles — the city politician whose no-bid deal with Perez to operate a city parking lot stirred the interest of state investigators in 2007.
Attorney Steven Seligman, who represented Republican Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson last fall when state investigators searched her home related to work done there by Costa, was also present. Seligman would not say whether he still represents Airey-Wilson.
Attorneys Stanley Twardy and Richard Brown were also present. They declined to say who they were representing.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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