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NEW YORK, NY — Februry 14, 2012 — The Honorable Colleen McMahon, District judge, presided over the pre-trial proceedings that began its deliberation between William Aronwald, counsel to former Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Sandy Annabi, and Anthony Siano, counsel to former Yonkers City Republican Committee Chairman Zehy Jereis, on one hand, and legal counsel representing United States Attorney Preet Bharara (pictured) for the Southern District Court, Mssrs. Jason Halperin and Perry Carbone, under the aegis of scrutiny and demeanor set by the Judge Colleen McMahon. The discussion began a few minutes after 11:00 a.m. to a packed cadre of media representing television, cable, print, Internet, and radio, even some who were assigned attendance for a school assignment.
To begin with, Sandy Annabi and Zehy Jereis have maintained their innocence to the charges made against them by the government.
Media was recognized to have been leaked the word that the pre-trial hearing would promote delay of the case in light of the publicity gained within the last days upon the revelation of former New York State Senator Nicholas Spano’s admission of not fully revealing income to the Internal Revenue Service. Mr Spano’s admission in court on Friday, February 10th received attention in Westchester County media, Albany, as well as notice in New York City. Mr Aronwald’s contention that his client, Ms Annabi will be denied an untainted selection of potential jurors within the next few days if the jury selection process would continue its logistical process. Despite Mr Aronwald’s contention, seconded by Mr Siano, Mr Jereis’s counsel, Judge McMahon said, “I’ll deal with it.” The motion to delay the court hearing to another date was denied.
The government did agree that Nicholas Spano will not be a witness in the trial against Ms Annabi and Mr Jereis.
The pre-trial process would rummage through issue after issue only to meet denial of the request by Judge McMahon. Judge McMahon painted a scenario in which she maintained she was aghast at be the “last to know” on issues to which she must know in order to make her rulings. Even so, the Hon. Judge McMahon noted she does not receive the pertinent information she deems proper for her to rule.
Judge McMahon’s contention seemed to be validated in some instances in which Mssrs Carbone and Halperin, at times advised Judge McMahon of issues in a timely manner, perhaps a week in advance of a scheduling, whereas they chose to reveal none of these same issues to the defendants until, as noted often in Tuesday’s deliberation to be turned over to Mssrs Aronwald and Siano only 24 hours or so before the event. So the games are played.
Judge McMahon suggested everyone be informed in a timely manner, that is, if she can be advised a week prior to an event, so should the defendants. The U.S. Attorneys agreed to so abide.
It was evident from the “get go” that the Hon. Judge Colleen McMahon was running the “show.” She is self-assured, knowledgeable of the law, and will not be drawn in deciding the direction of the case, nor will she guide it in one direction as opposed to another. She will preside over the conduct of the court, demanding of both sides to be astute to the letter of the law and to be able to volley the issues between themselves in order to reach a conclusion that she will judge appropriate or not.
Upon reflection,Judge McMahon seemed to siddle up closer to the government’s contention than otherwise. This will not diminish her posture, but it needs to be said as it may have bearing on the case as the process unfurls.
A subpoena of Anthony Mangone, requested to be permited by Mssrs Aronwald and Siano was denied after argument made by counsel James DeVita, of the firm Day, Pitney LLP, representing Mr Mangone, showed that “attorney work product privilege” protection must be maintained. “The subpoena is quashed,” said Judge McMahon. Part of the contention was with regard to a witness considered by the government to be hostile to it. The person they are referring to is one-time aide to Ms Annabi, Debbie Kayal, Anthony Mangone's sister-in-law.
The cases relating to Anthony Mangone, one-time close associate to then Senator Nick Spano, and Zehy Jereis, who was also a close associate of the former senator, and the relationship of Bruce Ratner to the former senator, and Ms Annabi’s vote that won the majority to move ahead with the Ridge Hill Project is likely the case of the year as it will impact each individual mentioned herein, but also have a residual and lasting effect on the Atlantic Yard Project in Brooklyn, and further focus attention to the conduct, allegedly not always Kosher, with regard to the Bruce Ratner operations.
Franco and Anthony Milio, father and son principals of Milio Management are expected to be witnesses in this case. They pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges that came to light on Monday, February 13, 2012, a day before this pre-trial hearing.
Jury selection begins on Wednesday, February 15, at 9:00 a.m.
One could say on Valentine's Day 2012, were is the love? Stay tuned. It is sure to be revealed.