State Court of Appeals upholds grand larceny conviction of former GOP operative

John F. Haggerty Jr., a Republican political consultant John F. Haggerty Jr., a Republican political consultant accused of stealing $1.1 million from Mr. Bloomberg during his 2009 re-election campaign, exits Manhattan Criminal Courthouse after New York City Mayor Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg testified in the case in Manhattan on Oct. 3, 2011. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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ALBANY -- New York's top court Monday upheld the conviction of a former Republican political operative for stealing $750,000 from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 2009 campaign.

The state Court of Appeals, in a 6-0 decision, threw out the appeal of John Haggerty Jr., a Queens native, who was convicted in 2011 of grand larceny and money laundering and sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

Haggerty has been free on $300,000 cash bail since his sentencing in December 2011, and is due in court Monday.

Bloomberg paid $1.2 million to the Independence Party in October 2009 to be directed to Haggerty to conduct a "ballot security" operation on Election Day that year.

Instead, Haggerty hired only a few people to watch the polls and spent just $32,000, court documents show. He later set up a corporation -- with himself as the only member -- that received $750,000 of the Bloomberg donation. At sentencing, Haggerty's attorneys said the operative used much of the money to buy his childhood home in Forest Hills.

Haggerty's attorneys had argued for a new trial. They claimed a lower court judge erred by allowing testimony from an official from Bloomberg's trust, which had provided the $1.2 million. The Court of Appeals rejected that idea, saying that the official's testimony -- which centered on whether Bloomberg had actual control of the trust -- had no bearing on the jury's decision.

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The court said there was "no significant probability that the jury would have failed to convict," even without the testimony of the trust official.

"We conclude that defendant's challenge lacks merit," Judge Jenny Rivera wrote for the court.Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to comment. An attorney for Haggerty didn't immediately return messages to comment.

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