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Motions arguments in LDC case
Rochester, N.Y. - Friday morning arguments in the criminal case involving two taxpayer-funded contracts totaling more than $300 million will likely center on whether charges should be dropped against the husband of Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks' husband.
It has become known as the "LDC" case, referring to the two Local Development Corporations (LDC) that contracted with Monroe County to provide services to taxpayers. One LDC contract (Upstate Telecommunications Corporation or "UTC") provided phone, IT, and communications technology to Monroe County. Another LDC contract (Monroe Security & Safety Systems or "M3S") was in charge of providing security, safety, and emergency communications upgrades to Monroe County.
The criminal case involves a 25-count indictment charging four men with various crimes including Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Bid-rigging, and Falsifying Business Records. Businessman Dan Lynch is named in all 25 counts of the indictment. Accountant John Maggio faces ten felony charges. Monroe County's former Chief Information Technology Officer, Nelson Rivera, faces six felony charges.
Robert Wiesner, the husband of Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, a retired Rochester Police Officer, and the former Director of Security for the Monroe County Water Authority, faces two counts of what is commonly referred to as "bid rigging."
Two audits of these LDC's by the New York State Comptroller's Office produced suspicious accounting practices and concluded that taxpayers paid more for these services because of the LDC contracts. The audits sparked a criminal investigation by the New York State Attorney General's Office that resulted in the unsealing of a criminal indictment in November 2013.
Monroe County and County Executive Maggie Brooks maintain that these LDC contracts save taxpayers money.
Friday's Court Appearance
On Friday morning, all four defendants will again appear before presiding judge Robert Noonan of Genesee County. Discussion about logistics and planning for this case are expected, last month the AG's Office told the court that there are approximately two million files that were gathered as part of this investigation. That evidence must be turned over to the defendants for review.
Motion arguments are also expected in the case against Wiesner. The AG's Office has agreed to drop charges against Wiesner following an admission that the office did not offer Wiesner an opportunity to testify before the grand jury that indicted him. However, the AG's Office wants to re-present evidence against Wiesner to a new grand jury.
Wiesner's lawyer is asking the court to dismiss charges "with prejudice" meaning they could not be re-filed at any point in the future. The arguments for this include an allegation of prosecutorial misconduct centered on the release of information in advance of the arraignment for these four defendants.
A press release from the AG's Office was sent to Rochester media outlets a day before the unsealing of that indictment and informed media where they could be to capture video of the defendants as they were escorted in handcuffs to the police department for processing and then to court for arraignment. Wiesner and the co-defendants argue this violated the seal order of the indictment and that the arranged "perp walk" amounted to misconduct and possibly a criminal act by members of the AG's Office.
Revealing the identity of those charged in a sealed indictment is not legal.
The Motions Arguments
In motions papers obtained by 13WHAM News in advance of Friday's court appearance, Wiesner's lawyer asks the judge to grant a hearing on this matter and to sign a subpoena for records from the AG's Office.
Attorney James Nobles states that the lead prosecutors on this case "emailed a draft of a formal press release" to the press officer who eventually alerted the media about the perp walk and that the prosecutors "responded to an email inquiry from a member of the Attorney General's Press Office asking for the date of arraignment information relating to the defendants."
Nobles states this, "raises serious questions as to what was known by the prosecutors and any collaboration they may have had in issuing any press release." Nobles also argues that his client being denied the right to testify before the grand jury raises additional questions about the prosecution's motivations and conduct.
The subpoena Nobles is asking Judge Noonan to sign requests "any and all emails (from private or government accounts) and text messages" from AG's Office personnel that deal with the perp walk and any references to Wiesner as a "target" of the investigation prior to or during the grand jury presentation.
In a response to those motions the AG's Office reiterates that Wiesner was only considered for criminal charges in October 2013 towards the end of the grand jury presentation. The prosecutors admit it was an oversight that denied Wiesner the opportunity to testify before the grand jury but that it should not prevent a re-presentation of evidence to a new grand jury in the future.
In response to Nobles' application for a subpoena of all email and text communications from AG's Office personnel the motions filed by prosecutors call that unnecessary. "The requested subpoena...would essentially authorize a fishing expedition into the internal deliberations of the prosecutor's office, without any basis in fact or law."
The court appearance on Friday begins at 9:30 a.m.
13WHAM News Reporter Sean Carroll will be in court tracking these developments Friday morning. You can follow Sean on Twitter for updates @scarroll13 and find the full report on 13WHAM.com and 13WHAM News at 5:00 & 6:00 tonight.