Queens Republican operative John Haggerty, found guilty last month of stealing $1.1 million from Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the mayor’s 2009 re-election campaign, can receive a sentence ranging from probation to 15 years in prison when he is set to be sentenced Friday by a Manhattan Supreme Court judge.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office said it could not comment on the sentencing possibilities for Haggerty, an unpaid volunteer during the re-election campaign.
But if Haggerty’s defense team files an immediate appeal, the Forest Hills resident will not be sent directly to jail if Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ronald Zweibel gives him a sentence that includes prison time.
A jury found Haggerty guilty Oct. 21 of stealing $1.1 million from the mayor to buy out his brother’s share of their late father’s Forest Hills Gardens home instead of spending the money on a poll-watching operation as Bloomberg intended.
During the trial, prosecutors said Haggerty spent about $32,000 on so-called ballot security and pocketed the rest to buy the home.
As prosecutors and Haggerty’s attorneys argued over bail, which was eventually set at $250,000 and which Haggerty posted the day after the verdict, Queens Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel said he was concerned that Haggerty posed a flight risk. He cited an e-mail exchange in which Haggerty said he has an Irish passport.
There is no extradition agreement between Ireland and the United States.
Maura Kearney, an employee of the Bloomberg campaign, argued with Haggerty over who was more Irish, with Kearney saying she was because “I was born there. I eat black pudding.”
Haggerty responded, “I have a house there and an Irish passport and an Irish terrier named Seamus” in the e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by the New York Post. “I can drink you under the table and went to many more Wolfetones concerts than you did. I am sure that I have been interrogated many more times by British ‘personnel’ than you have. So there!”
Haggerty attorney Dennis Vacco said the comment about the passport “was a joke,” but Zweibel said, “I’m not convinced that it was a joke.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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