NEW YORK, NY — November 8, 2012 — Judge Colleen McMahon of
the Federal District Court in Manhattan upheld the convictions against former
Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and of former Yonkers City Republican
Chairman Zehy Jereis.
Jereis testified before a
jury that it was love for Annabi that had driven him to give her gifts over
many years rather than prosecutorial assertions that he did so to persuade
Annabi to endorse the then proposed Forest City Ratner project that would
become the recently opened Ridge Hill Development. The government further alleged Annabi
eventually gave support to the Ridge Hill Development believing doing so would
assist Jereis in gaining employ from the
Ridge Hill developer Forest City Ratner.
Prosecutors had accused Ms. Annabi of taking about
$195,000 in secret payments over the years from the operative, Zehy Jereis, in
return for dropping her strong opposition to a proposed 81-acre luxury mall and
housing complex in Yonkers called Ridge Hill, and a second project. The
government had also contended that Ms. Annabi eventually gave the Ridge Hill
Development project her vote and support in order to help Jereis obtain a
no-show job from the developer, Forest City Ratner.
“The jury was entitled to
conclude that the thing that changed Sandy Annabi’s mind about the Ridge Hill
Project was her benefactor Zehy Jereis’ financial interest in getting the
project approved,” wrote Judge McMahon in her decision.
Judge McMahon raised the
issue of whether the government has proven its case against the two defendants
over the issue of conspiracy as its related to Ridge Hill. That concerned was
expressed by Judge McMahon and would reverberate in media as to the integrityof
the case against Annabi / Jereis. While
the issue is likely the most stellar of concerns to the public’s understanding
of whether the case is impervious to future scrutiny simply lacks judicial
integrity is one which Judge Mahon has declined to rule. The reader should
recognize that Judge McMahon expressed her opinion when the jury was
sequestered in the deliberation room outside of any
Judge McMahon expressed
skepticism to the love relationship expressed by Jereis for Annabi despite the
supportive evidence afforded the court ofemail communication between the
protagonists. Prosecutors said the email evidence were fabricated.
“The jury would not have
acted irrationally had it drawn the inference that the e-mails were fakes,”
Judge McMahon wrote. “Neither would it have been irrational for the jurors to
conclude that Jereis’ story of his seven years of unrequited courtship was most
likely a fiction as well.”
Annabi and Jereis were
each respectively convicted on March 29, 2012; both are scheduled for
sentencing on November 19, 2012.