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Judge denies request to overturn Edward Walsh fraud conviction

A judge Wednesday denied a request by lawyers

A judge Wednesday denied a request by lawyers for former Suffolk County Conservative Party leader Edward Walsh to overturn his conviction for wire fraud and theft of government funds. Credit: Ed Betz

A federal judge has denied former Suffolk County Conservative Party leader Edward Walsh’s request to overturn his conviction and grant him a new trial.

In a separate action, U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt also postponed the sentencing of Walsh, who was convicted in March of wire fraud and theft of government funds, until Feb. 3. The sentencing had been scheduled for next week.

Walsh, who was also a lieutenant in the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department, was convicted based on accusations he pocketed more than $200,000 in pay and overtime while golfing, gambling and engaging in Conservative Party activities.

The judge delayed sentencing at the request of Walsh’s attorneys and with the consent of the federal prosecutors. Walsh’s attorney’s asked for the nearly three-month delay because of the need to settle unresolved pre-sentencing motions, according to court papers.

It is not uncommon for attorneys representing a convicted defendant to ask that a trial judge overturn a jury verdict and a new trial be granted. And it is almost as routine for a trial judge to deny such requests.

This is because the standard for a judge to overturn a jury verdict is so high.

As Spatt noted, a judge would have to conclude the evidence was so insufficient “that no rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Among claims that Walsh made was that Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMaco testified against him at trial in return for leniency in some unspecified matter.

“The Court disagrees because the defendant is unable to present any evidence to support that theory,” Spatt wrote.

Walsh also asked that the case be overturned because the government did not provide him with a bill of particulars as to what he was accused of exactly in order to prepare a proper defense.

Spatt, however, responded that prosecutors had said they intended to prove that Walsh “falsified every time sheet he submitted” and Walsh was provided with all the time sheets during the discovery process, Spatt said.

“We’re disappointed in the judge’s decision, but we respect it,” one of Walsh’s attorneys, William Wexler, of North Babylon, said Wednesday.

When Walsh is sentenced, he faces between 30- to-37 months under federal guidelines. After the sentencing, Walsh can appeal the convictions to an appellate court.

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