Bronx Councilman Faces Trial Over Money Laundering And Fraud Charges
Larry Seabrook, a Bronx city councilman who faces money laundering and fraud charges, is about to have his case go to trial, and his legal team expects that Speaker Christine Quinn will be brought to the stand to testify. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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A year after Larry Seabrook was slapped with money laundering and fraud charges, the Bronx city councilman is finally going to trial, and his legal team is talking strategy.
"We are concerned with only one thing: making sure Mr. Seabrook receives a fair trial," said Edward Wilford of Seabrook’s legal team.
Seabrook is charged with getting kickbacks from this Bronx contractor to help secure work at the new Yankee Stadium.
He also allegedly steered City Council earmarks to nonprofits that he controlled and where he installed friends and family in so-called “no-show” jobs.
"Were they qualified and were they doing the job that the public wanted done? And I think that's the ultimate question, not the relationship. I mean, after all, would you vote for someone that couldn't get their brother a job?" said Anthony Ricco of Seabrook’s legal team.
As part of their legal strategy, the Seabrook team wants to resurrect the City Council's slush fund scandal, the now defunct process of putting fake organizations in the city budget. They say that's why Seabrook's nonprofits failed to perform.
"Whether or not it's an embarrassment to Speaker Quinn, I could care less. The real issue is did it affect the funding of the Bronx non-for-profit, and everybody knows that it did," said Ricco.
The investigation into the practice is closed, and Speaker Christine Quinn was found totally clean.
Officials at the U.S. attorney's office argue that any discussion of it is entirely irrelevant.
A judge could determine whether it's admissible next week, and Quinn could be called to testify.
"If she takes the stand, she is probably going to have an opportunity, because she's articulate, to say 'I am really not responsible for this.' It may work in her benefit," said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
That doesn't matter to Seabrook's team.
"We anticipate having her testify about this particular situation," said Wilford.
The question is whether Seabrook will take the stand.
"Time will tell," said Ricco.
Jury selection is scheduled to start at the U.S. District Court on November 7.
Seabrook's attorneys say they expect the trial to last about two weeks.