Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feds say Seabrook should be jailed for 7 to 9 years

By Michael Horowitz

BRONX, NEW YORK, November 20- Federal prosecutors have reportedly asked Federal District Court Judge Deborah Batts to jail former City Councilman Larry Seabrook for 7 to 9 years for the crimes for which he was convicted in July.

Seabrook's attorneys, who are reportedly considered among the city's top defense lawyers, are reportedly pursuing avenues of appeal of the July conviction on federal corruption charges.

Sources close to Seabrook told the News, several weeks ago, that the former Councilman is confident that he will ultimately be vindicated.

Seabrook, a fixture in Co-op City's politics for more than three decades, had faced a jail sentence of up to 180 years when a federal jury in Manhattan convicted him on nine felony counts in a July 26 verdict.

Prosecutors have reportedly argued that the 7- to 9-year jail sentence for Seabrook that they are seeking falls within sentencing guide lines.

A previous jury deadlocked, in December 2011, leading to a second trial on the federal corruption charges that prosecutors brought against Seabrook in the Southern District of New York. A federal jury, in July, found Seabrook guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.

The former Councilman was acquitted in July, on three counts charging an illegal kickback scheme involving the bidding of a boiler contract at the new Yankee Stadium.

The government proved, to the satisfaction of the July jury, that Seabrook diverted more than $1 million in taxpayer funds to relatives and friends through non-profit organizations that the former Councilman controlled.

In their sentencing memorandum that they prepared for Judge Batts, prosecutors stated: “Councilman Seabrook engaged, for a period of years, in a fraudulent scheme that undermined critical programs of the City of New York. Because of his activities, hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have been directed to desperately needed worker training recruitment was wasted.”

Saying that Seabrook's actions promoted a sense of cynicism about the political process, prosecutors added, “The damage done by Mr. Seabrook's actions thus significantly exceeded the dollar amounts of the fraud. Moreover, when officials in city agencies and at legitimate non-profit organizations questioned Mr. Seabrook about his activities, he responded with verbal attacks and attempts to hid and continue the fraud.”

The prosecutors concluded that it was important for Judge Batts to send a clear message that corruption on the part of elected officials won't be tolerated.

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