Sandy Annabi and Zehy Jereis file final appeal papers
Lawyers for former Yonkers Democratic City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and former Republican boss Zehy Jereis filed their final post-trial papers in a last-ditch bid to stave off sentencing on his federal public corruption conviction.
Annabi's lawyer, Edward Sapone, and Jereis' lawyer, Anthony Siano, filed their final round of papers Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Manhattan asking U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon to vacate the March 29 conspiracy, extortion and bribery conviction and, at the very least, order a new trial.
Sapone argued that federal prosecutors failed to prove their assertion that Jereis dictated Annabi's city council votes by giving her more than $170,000 worth of bribes over several years.
Sapone wrote, "Mr. Jereis did not control Ms. Annabi's political actions."
Siano argued that federal prosecutors failed to properly disclose that witnesses in the case told different stories about the source of a $20,000 bribe handed to Jereis to give to Annabi.
Federal prosecutors Perry Carbone and Jason P.W. Halperin said Jereis' defense team knew about the discrepancies well in advance of trial.
Annabi, 41, and Jereis, 40, face sentencing Oct. 4 on public corruption charges stemming from their March 29 convictions in federal court in Manhattan. A jury found that Jereis had bribed Annabi, a Democrat, with more than $170,000 in cash and gifts - including airline tickets, jewelry, and real estate down payments - between 2002 and 2008 to control her vote on key development projects in the city. The two projects charged in the indictment involved the Longfellow School project and the much larger and controversial $600 million Ridge Hill project.
Annabi initially opposed the Ridge Hill project, even joining a lawsuit to block it. But she switched her vote in June 2006, providing the margin of victory for the developer, Forest City Ratner. The developer was not charged with any wrongdoing.
Annabi's changed vote, federal prosecutors said, came at Jereis' behest after he had secured the promise of a consulting contract from the developer.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors filed papers that scoffed at the notion there was not enough evidence to convict Annabi and Jereis.
McMahon is expected to make her ruling before the October sentencing.
Annabi is likely to get a sentence of between 12 and 15 years in prison, although federal statutes could land her in prison for more than 100 years. Jereis faces a maximum of 65 years by statute, but similar to Annabi, sentencing guidelines will likely call for a much lesser sentence of between 14 and 17 years in prison.