The public corruption trial of Assemb. William Boyland Jr. resumed in federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday with a sharp rebuke to Boyland from the trial judge for sending a text to a witness in the case.
Before the jury entered the room, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Dugger told the judge that after former Boyland campaign manager Maria Delongoria testified last week, he sent her a text message that read: "I love you sis."
The prosecutor said Delongoria did not recognize the telephone number of the sender, but it was tracked to Boyland's home on Marion Street in Brooklyn.
"It was somewhat of a mild threat," Dugger told U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Townes.
Boyland's attorney, Peter Enrique Quijano of Manhattan, said his client assured him he meant no harm and only wanted Delongoria to know he harbored no ill will because of her testimony.
"He understands now it was inappropriate, forbidden," Quijano said.
Boyland, 43, is charged with bribe-taking, using state money he steered to a local nonprofit for campaign purposes and claiming bogus travel expenses.
Speaking to Boyland in slow, measured tones, the judge forbade him to get "in contact with anyone who has an interest at this trial . . . Do you understand that Mr. Boyland?"
Boyland, who rose to his feet while the judge addressed him, replied: "Yes, your honor."
With that out of the way, the jury was brought in and prosecutors continued to lay out their case in scores of emails, invoices and photographs meant to show that Boyland, a Democrat, took bribes, skimmed money from a nonprofit, filed bogus expense reports with the state and arranged a sweetheart real estate deal.Most of the evidence came during the continuing testimony of Ryan Hermon, Boyland's former chief of staff, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery and extortion last year and agreed to testify against Boyland.
Although much of the testimony involved the drudge work of identifying exhibits and getting them into evidence, Hermon also provided a glimpse of how she grew close to her boss and began to share their mutual problems and ambitions as he campaigned for re-election in the summer of 2008.
She said she tried to help him get his house out of the foreclosure process. Boyland promised to use his influence in Albany to help Hermon with back taxes she owed both the state and federal governments, she testified.
Although his home was in foreclosure, she said his campaign was out of funds and he had a shortage of money in his personal life."He was aspiring to be [city] comptroller and eventually be running his own hedge fund," Hermon testified. "I was hoping to become a New York state senator in Brooklyn," she said.