Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Grand Jury Report In Perez Case
July 29, 2009
HARTFORD - The state Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments from attorneys on whether to uphold a ruling to seal a judge's final report into allegations of corruption in the administration of Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
The Courant is seeking to have the full report made public.
Hubert Santos, who represents Perez, said in a letter to the court that the grand juror's final report should stay sealed lest it delay the mayor's criminal trial and "cause political turmoil within Hartford's city government."
Superior Court Judge Dennis Eveleigh, the grand juror, has released some of his report - although not the parts linking people with potential criminal activity. Last week, Eveleigh said that he would seal the parts of his report in which he found probable cause because the report's release could either damage a person's right to a fair trial or a person's reputation.
What he did disclose outlined the basics of the investigation - that there were 32 sessions with testimony from 150 witnesses and 316 items of documentary evidence. He also outlined potential criminal violations - including fabrication of physical evidence, criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny, first-degree larceny by extortion and fraudulent voting - without linking them to specific people.
Santos agreed with Eveleigh that releasing the report would damage Perez's right to a fair trial, and he rejected The Courant's argument that Perez could have a trial elsewhere in the state. "Mr. Perez is the only minority mayor of Connecticut's five major cities," Santos wrote. "He has a right to be tried in the judicial district where he has an opportunity of selecting Hispanic and African American jurors."
Perez has been the focus of state investigators since the beginning of 2007. He was arrested in January 2009 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 city contractor Carlos Costa. Costa was also arrested and has pleaded not guilty. Perez's trial is scheduled to begin in September.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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