A federal judge has delayed former Suffolk County Conservative Party leader Edward Walsh’s imprisonment — which was to begin Tuesday — while he decides whether Walsh is entitled to a new trial.
His attorneys assert in court papers a new trial is needed because the government did not hand over evidence favorable to Walsh’s defense.
Walsh, 51, of East Islip, who also was a lieutenant in the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, was convicted in March 2016 of wire fraud and theft of government services and sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Suffolk sheriff’s department while golfing, gambling and politicking on county time.
But on Monday, U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt at the federal court in Central Islip ordered the date of Walsh’s imprisonment to be delayed until at least Oct. 17 so that he can consider the motion for a new trial.
Spatt did not say in his ruling whether he would hold a hearing on the issues raised by Walsh, or decide based on the court papers filed by Walsh’s attorneys, Leonard Lato of Hauppauge and William Wexler of North Babylon, and the opposition papers filed by Eastern District prosecutors Raymond Tierney and Catherine Mirabile.
Spatt also did not say when he might issue a ruling on the motion for a new trial.
Lato and Wexler argued that the government violated its obligation to turn over material that would have assisted Walsh in his defense at the trial, including statements made to FBI agents by jail officials which appeared to contradict the testimony of Sheriff Vincent DeMarco.
DeMarco, a key government witness, had testified that Walsh did not report to him, and he was unaware that Walsh, in effect, claimed that the sheriff gave him permission to set his own hours and regularly leave the jail grounds. The defense attorneys argued that they could have used this information to undermine DeMarco’s credibility as a government witness.
Tierney and Mirabile, while not conceding that required information had not been turned over for Walsh’s defense, said the argument was beside the point. They said the evidence of Walsh’s guilt was overwhelming, based on voluminous records of his locations from telephone and credit-card records, as well as contractual requirements calling for him to work a regular 7 ½ hour shift.
At Walsh’s sentencing in June, Spatt also ordered hm to make $202,000 in restitution, forfeit an additional $245,000 and serve 3 years supervised release.