Hevesi seeks judge change before sentencing

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The attorney for disgraced former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi was expected to file papers Tuesday arguing that the judge charged with sentencing the Forest Hills resident has a conflict of interest and another judge should hand down the sentencing, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said.

Hevesi’s attorney, Bradley D. Simon, could not be reached for comment.

Hevesi, who was the sole trustee of the state’s multibillion-dollar pension fund when he was comptroller, pleaded guilty Oct. 7 to taking more than $1 million in gifts in exchange for $250 million in pension fund business from Markstone Capital Partners, a private equity firm that has some involvement in Israeli investments.

Hevesi admitted to using part of the $1 million to visit Israel and Italy with some staff and family members.

Nearly five months after his guilty plea, Hevesi has still not been sentenced for his role in the corruption scheme.

His sentencing has been adjourned three times — Dec. 16, Feb. 1 and March 1 — according to court records.

Schneiderman’s office said Simon was expected to argue that Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Lewis Bart Stone had a conflict of interest because Stone and Simon’s father are longtime friends, although the younger Simon does not get along with his father.

Stone also is the executor of Simon’s parents’ wills.

A spokesman for Schneiderman would not comment on whether his office believed the maneuver was another tactic to get Hevesi’s sentencing postponed again.

Hevesi has been released on his own recognizance each time his sentencing was adjourned, according to court records.

The attorney general’s office said Stone is expected to decide March 28 whether he has a conflict.

If the judge decides there is no conflict, he is expected to sentence Hevesi on that date, the attorney general’s office said.

Hevesi’s political right-hand man, Hank Morris, was sentenced to up to four years in prison late last month for receiving so-called placement fees in exchange for getting the pension fund to invest with favored firms.

Hevesi had been out of office when he was charged with corruption.

As part of a plea deal, Hevesi resigned in 2008 after it was found he had the state police chauffeur his ailing wife despite there being no threat against his wife’s life.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:41 am, October 12, 2011
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