Corruption case in hands of jury
After five months, thousands of documents and more than 30 witnesses, a corruption case against three former government officials landed in the hands of the jury Tuesday.
Acting Supreme Court Judge Alan Honorof spent more than two hours charging the jury in the cases against former Nassau County Legislators Roger Corbin and Patrick Williams, and Neville Mullings, former head of the Town of North Hempstead's Community Development Agency.
The three allegedly schemed to steer a redevelopment project in New Cassel to a developer willing to "pay to play," sell fake exclusive rights to a bank and steal $150,000 in public funds.
Indictments against the trio, plus David Wasserman, former building and planning commissioner for North Hempstead, were handed down July 2010. Corbin, Williams, Mullings and Wasserman were charged with steering the New Cassel project to developer Ranjan Batheja for $400,000 in bribes and other payments. Charges against Wasserman were dismissed on June 13.
Honorof warned jurors yesterday that they should weigh Batheja's testimony against the fact that he was an accomplice to the alleged crimes.
Batheja was the subject of one of the most dramatic moments in court, when Honorof threw him in jail on April 26 for 30 days for criminal contempt and fined him $1,000 for his conduct on the witness stand. Batheja had admitted to lying to the jury twice in his previous testimony. He was released after several days.
After breaking for the holiday, jurors were expected to continue deliberations Thursday.