Democratic councilman Michael Fagen responds to a presentation by an...

Democratic councilman Michael Fagen responds to a presentation by an external auditor regarding Long Beach's struggling finances. (Feb. 6, 2012) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The trial of Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen, who is accused of illegally collecting more than $14,000 in unemployment benefits, is set to begin Sept. 4.

Fagen, a Democrat, was indicted in February on felony charges of third-degree grand larceny, petty larceny and 38 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

Investigators accuse him of hiding his government job from the state to collect unemployment benefits, prosecutors have said. Fagen has pleaded not guilty and said he is the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign.

The trial is scheduled to begin with preliminary meetings Sept. 4 and 5, and the trial itself is expected to begin in Sept. 10, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney's office said.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for July 25, court records show.

Judge William C. Donnino has tried to coax a settlement of the case that would not involve a trial, but that seems unlikely now, said Marc Gann, an attorney for Fagen.

"The judge is trying to squeeze some kind of a resolution out of the case, but I don't know that it's going to happen," said Gann, of Mineola.

A spokesman for the Nassau district attorney's office declined to comment on the case. Assistant District Attorney William Jorgenson is slated to prosecute, the spokesman said.

An unrelated eviction lawsuit involving Fagen was withdrawn on Thursday.

Fagen's landlord sued to evict the councilman over $12,000 in unpaid rent, but withdrew the case at Long Beach City Court now that Fagen has made arrangements to pay, said the landlord's attorney.

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