$1bn US fraud trial focuses on Mayor Bloomberg

 

New York

New York's billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg had to endure two hours of attacks on his honesty yesterday, on subjects ranging from his bid to overturn term limits to his handling of the resignation of a deputy mayor, as he appeared in the witness box at the trial of a man accused of embezzling more than $1m from him.

For observers of the trial of Republican political consultant John Haggerty, the main interest was not whether the defence would turn up any new evidence, but whether the city's imperious mayor would be snappy, snippy or downright furious under cross-examination.

In the end, Mr Bloomberg responded calmly as defence attorneys sought to suggest that his payments to Mr Haggerty amounted to an abuse of campaign finance laws by a politician who could not be trusted.

Prosecutors say the case is much more straightforward: Mr Haggerty was paid $1.1m (£700,000) to provide ballot security on election day in 2009, and he did not. He used the money instead to buy a house. "We could have done a lot of good in society with a million-odd dollars," Mr Bloomberg said. "It's a lot of money."

The money for Mr Haggerty's services – which he also provided for the first two of Mr Bloomberg's three elections – was channelled by way of a donation to the Independence Party from the mayor's personal fortune in what was one of the most expensive electoral campaigns in the city's history.

The billionaire, who founded the financial news business that bears his name, spent $109m on the campaign after persuading the city's assembly to overturn a ban on mayors seeking a third term.

Ballot security is the controversial practice of monitoring polling stations for election fraud, something that can be accused of over-stepping the line from monitoring to interfering with elections when potential voters are being challenged.

The Bloomberg campaign believed they were financing a full-blown ballot security operation, complete with an office, election day drivers and 1,355 paid poll monitors, but Mr Haggerty is on trial accused of providing little or none of that service. He denies charges of grand larceny, money laundering and falsifying business records, and his defence attorneys have suggested the donation to the Independence Party was not intended for any specific kind ballot security operation.

Rather than the curt answers Mr Bloomberg can sometimes give, he responded animatedly to some questions posed by Raymond Costello, the defence lawyer.

"If you could answer my question, Mr. Bloomberg, I'd really appreciate it, instead of volunteering information," Mr Costello said at one point.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain