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Ruben Wills wants special prosecutor to hear his corruption case

Detectives from the New York State attorney's office

Detectives from the New York State attorney's office escort City Council member Ruben Wills of Queens in handcuffs to be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court after being arrested on charges of misusing public funds on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

Queens City Councilman Ruben Wills, who is facing corruption charges, Wednesday requested the case be handed over to a special prosecutor, saying state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman retaliated against him for refusing to secretly record conversations with elected officials.

"This is nothing more than a witch hunt," said Wills' lawyer, Steve Zissou of Queens.

"We do not believe that the attorney general can be impartial to this case," said Zissou, who also filed a motion to have a judge review the grand jury proceedings to "make sure it was fair."

Earlier this month, Wills, 42, of Jamaica, was indicted on 12 counts, including first-degree grand larceny and falsifying business records.

According to the complaint, Wills "pocketed both public campaign funds and a charitable grant money for personal benefit."

But Wills, who has pleaded not guilty, said Wednesday that he was indicted after Schneiderman's office asked him to wear a wire and he refused.

"The attorney general's office told me to 'cooperate' . . . and that they would disband the grand jury, send those good people home and the pending indictment would go away," he said.

Matt Mittenthal, spokesman for the attorney general, would not comment on Wills' assertions.

Mittenthal said Schneiderman is "committed to rooting out public corruption wherever it exists and will follow the evidence wherever it leads."

Wills himself was secretly recorded in 2012, when former state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) cooperated with federal investigators.

Huntley is serving a year in prison for stealing $88,000 in taxpayer money.


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