A federal judge Friday delayed sentencing of Edward Walsh, and set a date for a hearing on whether new assertions by federal prosecutors should potentially increase the prison time faced by the former Suffolk Conservative Party leader.
Walsh, who was also a lieutenant in the Suffolk County Sherriff’s Office, was convicted last April after a 10-day trial of wire fraud and theft of government services for pocketing more than $200,000 in department salary and overtime while engaged in golfing, gambling and political activities.
Walsh had been scheduled to be sentenced Friday in federal court in Central Islip, and was facing 24 to 30 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Judges usually follow the guidelines, but are not required to do so.
Walsh’s attorneys had asked U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt to delay the sentencing, saying prosecutors have now requested that the judge take into account their new claims that Walsh actually pocketed $442,000, and also attempted to obstruct justice by trying to get three potential witnesses to falsely testify in his favor.
Judges could take such assertions into account in sentencing. And Walsh’s attorneys, Leonard Lato of Hauppauge and William Wexler of North Babylon, say without a hearing to rebut the prosecutors’ claims, Walsh’s sentencing guideline range would increase to 37 months to 46 months.
Lato and Wexler said in court papers that the new claims are unfair because Walsh was not convicted of taking the $442,000. The defense also denies any attempt to obstruct justice.
Spatt on Friday set May 22 for a pre-sentencing hearing on the issue. Any restitution in the case would go back to the victim — Suffolk County.
Earlier this week, Suffolk County sued Walsh to recoup the more than $400,000 in wages and overtime that officials allege he accepted illegally as a lieutenant.
Wexler on Friday called the suit “superfluous,” adding: “I don’t know why the county is expending valuable taxpayer’s resources when the federal judge will make that determination.”
Eastern District federal prosecutor Catherine Mirabile declined to comment.