New York’s top court on Monday upheld the conviction of a Republican political operative for stealing $750,000 from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 2009 campaign.The Court of Appeals, in a 6-0 decision, dismissed the appeal of John F. Haggerty Jr., a Queens native, who was convicted in 2011 of grand larceny and money laundering and sentenced to 1 and 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.
The case centered on a $1.2 million payment from Bloomberg to the Independence Party in October 2009 to conduct a “ballot security” operation on Election Day that year -- conducted by Haggerty, a GOP campaign veteran.
Instead, Haggerty hired only a few people to watch the polls and spent just $32,000, according to court documents. He later set up a corporation -- with himself as the only member -- which received $750,000 of the Bloomberg contribution. At sentencing, Haggerty’s attorneys said the operative used much of the money to buy his childhood home in Forest Hills.
Haggerty’s attorneys had argued for a new trial. They claimed a lower court judge erred by allowing testimony from an official from Bloomberg’s trust -- which had provided the $1.2 million. The Court of Appeals rejected that idea, saying that official’s testimony (which centered on whether Bloomberg had actual control of the trust) had no bearing on the jury’s decision.
The court said there was “no significant probability that the jury would have failed to convict,” even without the testimony of the trust official.