HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez will likely have to wait several more months to find out if he will get two new trials or finally start serving the three year sentence that he was given five years ago when he was convicted of bribery and extortion.
It’s now in the hands of the State’s Highest Court which has been asked to reject the State Appellate Court’s finding that Perez should not have had the two cases tried at the same time by the same jury.
“This was a case from the ‘getgo’ that was doomed,” Perez’s attorney Hubert Santos told the Justices of the State Supreme Court. Santos contends that trial Judge Julia Dewey should never have combined the cases.
The bribery involved a new bathroom and kitchen in the Perez home that was done by city contractor Carlos Costa who testified he didn’t expect to get paid. Perez didn’t pay for it until investigators started asking about it. He later admitted lying to investigators about when he wrote the check. Santos says that tainted the jury in both cases against him, “Juries are responsible but once they got a picture of the Mayor as a liar, that was the end of the trial.” Santos contends that influenced the outcome of the extortion case.
The extortion involved the attempt to get a developer to pay North End political powerbroker Abe Giles $100,000 to vacate a city parking lot. Giles has since died.
In arguing against the new trials, Prosecutor Harry Weller noted that Perez was acquitted of Fabricating Evidence in the Bribery case “The defendant was convicted because there was overwhelming evidence of guilt. The fact that he was a liar didn’t even taint the Bribery case.”
As you can see this is a complicated case so the Supreme Court will likely take quite a bit of time deciding. It’s a very important case to state prosecutors because it’s the only high profile corruption conviction they’ve had. All the other political corruption convictions have been in federal court.