A political operative who worked on the election bids of prominent New York Republicans was convicted Friday of cheating Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, ending a case that has put a spotlight on the billionaire mayor and the inner workings of his campaigns.

John Haggerty remained expressionless as he was found guilty of second-degree grand larceny and money laundering. He was acquitted of first-degree grand larceny.

The 42-year-old was accused of promising the mayor's 2009 campaign an elaborate poll-watching operation, then spending just $32,000 on the effort and pocketing most of the rest to buy a house. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

In the end, jurors were unconvinced by defense lawyers who often tried to turn their attention to the mayor, painting a picture of a former mogul who threw his money at problems and surrounded himself with highly paid insiders so desperate to hold onto power that they didn't care how Haggerty spent the money he was given, as long as he got results.

Jurors recounted tense deliberations that had begun with the panel evenly split on whether to convict, with several panelists swayed by the defense's depiction of a high-rolling, win-at-all costs campaign.

"There was a lot of talk in the jury room just about conspiracy," juror Stephen Conroy said. "Just that everybody was in on it; Haggerty was the fall guy."

Prosecutors maintained the mayor was the victim in a simple but lucrative scam: Haggerty, assigned to handle poll-watching for the campaign, drew up a budget to pay more than 1,300 watchers, hire drivers and rent hotel rooms.

Once the mayor had donated money to the state Independence Party to pay for the effort, Haggerty created a company through which to launder the money, and used $750,000 to buy a house.

The four-week trial lifted a veil from some of Bloomberg's private and political dealings.

The mayor himself took the stand, pointed his finger at Haggerty and came close to calling him a liar. To the defense's questions, Bloomberg said repeatedly that he could not remember.Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said in a statement: "We are pleased that the jury . . . reached a verdict based on the evidence and the law."

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