The jury’s verdict was divulged before the Hon. Colleen McMahon’s courtroom close to the Noon hour last Thursday, March 29, 2012. The jury foreman gave the unanimous verdict over which every allegation deliberated upon was made. On the first count, he was heard to say, “Guilty.” I did not believe I heard correctly. On the second count, he said, “Guilty.” I believe I realized my lower jaw had dropped to the floor only when on the third count he also said, “Guilty.” It was then, that I said to myself, “They are going to find them ‘guilty’ on every count.” There were 11 charges in all, some shared others specific to one defendant, rather than the other. Upon reflection, and to this day, I cannot fathom the rationale deduced by the jury in their deliberation.
Was I witness to the same court proceedings at which they sat? What did they ‘comprehend’ that I had not? Were they in the right, and I naively in the wrong? Did they abide by the directives afforded them by the clearly defined and succinctly expressed laws by which they were charged? Did the jury reach a conclusion based upon the prosecution (government) bearing the burden of proof that they, as “reasonable” people, found both defendants engaged in conspiracy, corruption, extortion, and depriving Yonkersites of honest services, by their past behavior, by a barometer of “reasonable doubt?”
It was Judge McMahon who was first to express the government having yet to convince her of showing a “quid pro quo” with regard to “something for something” based on the government’s lead witness, Anthony Mangone’s uncorroborated assertions that he received a total of $40,000 in cash from Franco and Antonio Milio before two other members of the Milio family. When it became known that Homeland Security had placed Franco and Antonio Milio in Mexico when Mr Mangone alleges he was given cash before members of the Milio family by Frnco and Antonio Milio, the government’s “star witness” lost all credibility. Further, the government’s not scrutinizing the allegations made by Mr Mangone caused this reporter to question the government’s intent. Was the government interested in facts or would no fact dissuade them from their intentioned conclusion?
I was floored by the government’s reluctance to ascribe to the fact that Homeland Security had revealed a “fact” from which they recoiled being made public.
Without providing proof of an exchange of cash from Franco and Antonio Milio to Anthony Mangone.and then alledly to Zehy Jereis and finally to Sandy Annabi, the allegation revealed nothing provable to me. How did the jury conclude otherwise?
What was it among the dynamic of the courtroom that would distort believing the testimony of Mr Zehy Jereis when he took the stand? He expressed his desire for Ms Annabi. He offered notice of no sexual intercourse between himself and Ms Annabi. Yet when computer forensic expert Shlomo Koenig took the stand, he revealed that FBI agents who attempted to scrutinize the hard drive of one of Zehy Jereis’ computers, the forensic trail that would have permitted him information he required to be definitive in his testimony was erroneously deleted by previous FBI attempts. When it was alleged that there were many “letters” expressing affection for Ms Annabi by Mr Jereis, but none responding to his passion, one had to question why the AOL records were not demanded by the government investigators. In fact, when the government cross examined Mr Jereis, they mentioned that he divulged there was no sexual intercourse between them, but the U.S. Assistant Attorney did not want to define Mr Jereis’ term that there was “sexual contact.” Had the AOL email records been requested, it could have been ascertained if there was a relationship between Mr Jereis and Ms Annabi that pre-dated any possible motive other than their expression of affection between each other. A fact that would have derailed any further contention of misconduct.
Was the youth of the defendants something the jury held against them? Did Ms Annabi’s model-like stature engender jealousy among the predominately woman-centric jury?
Does a lack of knowing the agenda driven drivel and connivance and backroom dealing and wheeling in Yonkers and Westchester County create a sense of lawlessness by which Yonkers specifically, and Westchester County, less so, get painted.
The catalyst that caused the FBI to consider looking into the two defendants was based on innuendo, agenda, political skullduggery, and worse, that remains virulent in conduct to this day. Elected officials that lie about others, yet will claim otherwise. The “think tankers” that get six figure salaries for no show jobs continue. The extortion of taxpayer money re-labeled as grant money continues unabated. Yonkers Inspector General Dan Schorr is a political operative that we have heard will divulge his stepping down this week. He has uncovered nothing in the year plus he has accepted money for coming to work. The New York State Comptroller has warned the City of Yonkers of its dismal fiscal conduct for many years past. Even so, he has permitted passage of the municipal budget. Yonkers Board of Ethics has conducted itself devoid of any ethical measure. Yonkersites laugh as they are besmirched by those who demean their name using the term “ethics.” The Yonkers Board of Contracts and Supplies has in the dead of night issued contracts that defy any logic for Yonkersites’ benefit. Not a word to be heard from anyone, other than they did it within the tenets of the law.
Thieves wish to preside over the office of Clerk in Yonkers. Hush. No one is to know. Will a former government official return the money stolen during the last holiday season? Will a developer pay the HUD money that they have forced the City of Yonkers to pay with no hope of every paying Yonkers back? Will real estate tax arrears ever be paid? Who is watching out for the public good? When will the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency return the funds it stole form the city coffers to which it was not entitled? When will the Yonkers Board of Education have the funds taken from its coffers returned? When will the Father Pat Green Development do right by its homeowners? When will the use of eminent domain to benefit the bigoted interests of one neighborhood’s interest be eclipsed by what is right for Yonkers economic viability? When?
The jury got it wrong. Only the Hon. Colleen McMahon, District Judge, can set it right. There is little people trust today. The judicial system is daily under attack by its ineptitude and its lack of concern to abide by the law. Justice is too often not the operative course or concern. If in this case, or in others that will surely follow, jurists do not elevate the conduct of those that come before their august courtrooms, we will all suffer self-destruction by ineptitude and dismissal of truths that are facts ungoverned by agenda and outside influence.
Mr Jereis and Ms Annabi deserve to be acquitted of the charges that stand before them.