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LDC case in court Thursday
Rochester, N.Y. --- The four men accused of crimes related to Monroe County contracts totaling more than $300 million were back in court Thursday afternoon.
Among the lingering items for the court is the fate of Robert Wiesner, the husband of Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, who faces two charges of bid-rigging related to these contracts.
The New York State Attorney General's Office agreed to drop the charges against Wiesner after admitting that the office did appropriately allow Wiesner to testify at Grand Jury despite his specific request to be allowed that opportunity. The AG's Office is asking for the opportunity to re-present evidence to a new grand jury. Wiesner's lawyer is arguing that the charges should be dismissed with prejudice, meaning they could not be re-presented.
The other three defendants are also arguing that some or all charges be dismissed. Some arguments include statute of limitations and other arguments focus in whether the proof supports these specific charges against the various defendants.
The three co-defendants named in the 25-count criminal indictment are Nelson Rivera, a former Monroe County official in charge of information services, John Maggio, an accountant and the founder and CEO of Navitech the company that was eventually awarded the contracts, and Dan Lynch, a former executive for Toshiba that was a known liason between Navitech, the county, and other parties involved in these contracts.
The LDC (Local Development Corporation) investigation started in 2009 with a New York State Comptroller's Office audit of Monroe County's contracts with two LDC's. The audit results were referred to the Attorney General's Office for consideration of possible criminal charges.
In November 2013 four men were arrested in a very public way that has been called into question by presiding NY State Supreme Court Justice Robert Noonan as well as the defendants. The men were ordered to turn themselves into the AG's Office, were then handcuffed and walked across Exchange Street to the Public Safety Building for processing, and then escorted in handcuffs into the Hall of Justice.
The Attorney General's Office notified all Rochester area media outlets one day in advance despite the contents of the criminal indictment being sealed by court order until the arraignment.
In motion papers filed by Robert Wiesner's lawyer James Nobles an argument is made that the court should consider "the pervasive, extreme, and longstanding misconduct by the (Attorney General's Office) in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of Mr. Wiesner."
Among other arguments made in the lengthy motion obtained by 13WHAM News is the mention of the arrest and perp walk of Wiesner and the co-defendants that occurred one day after Election Day. Wiesner's lawyer points out that local media were reporting the eventual arraignments by 6:10 p.m. the night before the criminal indictment was unsealed.
The exhibit provided to the court as evidence if this was the copy of a Tweet sent out by 13WHAM Anchor Ginny Ryan minutes after 13WHAM News was the first to break news of the pending arrests on-air. The internal email was sent to lead prosecutors in the LDC case at the time.
The motion argument goes on to call the investigation a "political prosecution" that was initially called for by former Monroe County Legislator and current New York State Assemblyman Harry Bronson, who was publicly supported by Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.
Nobles also included in his exhibits an email exchange between Comptroller's Office auditors and Attorney General Office investigators that included a news report and photo of Wiesner in handcuffs. The emailer then asked recipients, "Would it be inappropriate for me to make this my new desktop backdrop?"
The Attorney General's Office has yet to respond to the motion argument filed by Wiesner's lawyer and is expected to be allowed the opportunity to do so.