Ex-Nassau lawmakers' trial to continue Thursday

Roger Corbin on his way in to court, Roger Corbin on his way in to court, Monday. (June 28, 2010) Photo Credit: James Carbone

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Prosecutors failed to prove their case against three former government officials accused of corruption related to a New Cassel development, one of the defense attorneys argued Wednesday.

During his closing argument, Hempstead attorney Frederick Brewington dumped a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces onto the defense table.

"This is what they left us with -- a big mess," he told the jury.

On trial are former Nassau lawmakers Roger Corbin of Westbury, and Patrick Williams of Uniondale; and Neville Mullings of Westbury, former executive director of the town's Community Development Agency.

They were indicted in July 2010 on charges of conspiracy and grand larceny for allegedly steering work to developer Ranjan Batheja in exchange for $400,000 in bribes. All charges were dismissed last week against a fourth defendant, former North Hempstead building Commissioner David Wasserman.

Prosecutors claim Batheja paid Corbin bribes totaling $280,000 between 2005 and 2007, and funneled $20,000 to Mullings through his son, Gordon.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Assistant District Attorney Teresa Corrigan began her summation Wednesday afternoon and is expected to continue Thursday.

Brewington, representing Mullings, reminded jurors that one of the detective investigators testified that he couldn't prove that the elder Mullings received any benefit from Batheja's payments to his son.

"End of case on that," Brewington said.

In his closing argument Tuesday, Corbin's attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard, of Mineola, said Corbin couldn't have stolen the New Cassel site because he had no power as a Nassau County legislator to award Batheja a North Hempstead town project.

The payments from Batheja to Corbin, he said, were for Corbin's consulting work in helping set up a meeting between Batheja and high-level state, city and local elected officials.

According to the evidence, Corbin's first check was dated in February 2005, several months after Batheja won the bid. "You don't pay for something you have already," St. Bernard said.

You also may be interested in: