Mayor's aide slammed by political operative in finance trial
An attorney for accused political operative John Haggerty made a forceful attack on two of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s aides Tuesday in what could be a taste of what the Hizzoner himself may face next week.
Prosecutors claim that Republican operative John Haggerty convinced the mayor, an independent, to pay more than $1 million for a bogus statewide poll-watching initiative, then pocketed most of the cash to buy his late father’s house. Haggerty denies it.
As a way to turn the tables on Bloomberg, Haggerty’s attorney, Dennis Vacco, alleged Tuesday that the mayor willfully donated the money for poll watching to the state Independence Party, which wouldn’t have had to publicly disclose the contribution until finance reports were released after the election.
Poll watching is controversial because critics say it intimidates voters, and it was something Bloomberg was under fire for in the 2005 election.
Taking the stand Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, former Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey called some of the allegations against Bloomberg “hogwash” and insisted the mayor broke no campaign finance laws with his seven-figure donation. Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, who like Sheekey, worked on Bloomberg’s campaign, testified similarly.
Bloomberg is expected to testify next week, when Haggerty’s trial resumes after adjourning over Rosh Hashanah.