Perez Supporters Speak In Court And React Afterwards
Mayor Was Sentenced To Three Years In Prison and Three Years of Probation
By Jeff Cohen
September 14, 2010
Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was sentenced today on corruption related charges. The three-year prison sentence brought a wave of emotion from his supporters, both inside and outside the courthouse. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
It began as Perez entered, when some of his supporters got into a scuffle with a television photographer. Once inside the courtroom, Perez’s wife, Maria Perez, struggled through tears for two hours. Then it came time for more than a dozen people to speak on his behalf. One was his son, Eddie Perez Jr., who spoke of the former mayor as a committed grandfather.
“When Noah is with his abuelo, his grandfather, everyone else doesn’t exist. When they are together they play, and they play for hours. And I know my father is exhausted, but he never shows it. You’re Honor, I know you’re in a tough situation. But I ask that you take into account all the good that my father has done.”
Eddie Perez’s sister, Jeannette Perez, said that there’s only one explanation for the conduct that led to the five guilty verdicts on corruption related charges. An aberration.
“We have never, ever, known Eddie to show a pattern of unethical conduct under any circumstance. The man we know is not a self-serving man.”
Outside the courthouse, Perez supporters like former city council president Hernan LaFontaine took care to show respect for the sentence while disagreeing with the verdict.
“The jury, you know, did the verdict. Yes, I understand that. But beyond that, what the human heart tells you, and what we know from personal experience and relationships, is that he’s not a corrupt person. That’s not the way he thinks.”
Calixto Torres, another former council president, says he thinks state Judge Julia Dewey tried to be fair.
“And now, we just have to deal with the appeal and go forward with seeing if that can be overturned.”
Perez was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of probation. He is expected to be free while a higher court hears his appeal.