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Sentencing of ex-village trustee postponed until January

Perry Pettus faces up to two to seven

Perry Pettus faces up to two to seven years in prison. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A judge postponed the sentencing Tuesday for former Hempstead Village trustee Perry Pettus, who pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges.

Nassau County Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan agreed to postpone Pettus’ sentencing for a third time after he pleaded guilty in June to more than a dozen charges, including receiving bribes, grand larceny, conspiracy, official misconduct and tempering with public records and a witness.

Pettus, 63, appeared in a Mineola courtroom Tuesday where the judge agreed to postpone the sentencing until Jan. 14.

His defense attorney James Druker said Pettus asked to postpone the sentencing so he could spend the holidays with his family and his grandchild. Pettus faces up to two to seven years in prison for a bribery scandal involving the village police department.

“He’s had a lot of family tragedies over the past year,” Druker said. “The judge was compassionate to him.”

Pettus admitted taking more than $25,000 in bribes in an extortion scheme where he strong-armed two Hispanic restaurateurs in exchange for protection. Pettus said he worked with businessman William Mendez in exchange for fast-tracking business licenses and permits. Mendez pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Pettus also pleaded guilty to taking a $1,000 cash bribe from village Deputy Police Chief Richard Holland in exchange for a vote to promote Holland — who also was indicted and pleaded not guilty.

Pettus also admitted to his role in a mortgage-related fraud and a ticket-fixing scheme that led to the indictments of village police Chief Paul Johnson, village police Sgt. Joseph Savino — both of whom pleaded not guilty — and Mendez.  

Prosecutors said Johnson illegally tossed four traffic tickets at the request of Pettus, who was acting for Mendez. Days later, Pettus was among those who interviewed Johnson, then a lieutenant, for a promotion before voting in June 2018 to name him acting police chief, prosecutors said.

Pettus left the village board at the end of his term in March. He did not seek re-election after serving on the board since 2002.

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