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Day 7: Mayor Perez On Trial, Judge Crushes Mayor Perez’s Hope To Testify


HARTFORD —  Should judicial efficiency trump one’s constitutional right to testify on his behalf?

That’s the question posed to Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey on day seven of Mayor Eddie Perez’s trial for alleged bribery and larceny.

With the state’s bribery case against Perez winding down after 16 witnesses testified, Attorney Hubert Santos asked the court to split the two cases and have Perez testify on his own behalf  at this crucial juncture. Santos said the combination of two cases poses substantial challenges to the defense and violates his client’s constitutional rights.

“Since that is a real concern, this will be the time to cure it,” Santos said. “It just seems to me that the line should be drawn right here.”

After hearing the prosecutor’s objection, Dewey denied Santos’s request with a swift tap of her gavel on the wooden bench, crushing Perez’s hope of testifying in his defense.

State prosecutors objected to Santos’ motion to separate the cases. They argued that Santos’ plea was untimely and should’ve been asked when the state first sought to combine both cases. In addition, said Prosecutor Michael Gailor, “This appears to me the defense trying to control the course of the case.”

Santos disagreed, saying the request time is not unusual.

“We have a pretty good sense of what the state’s bribery case looks like in terms of evidence and witnesses’ credibility,” Santos said.

Perez’s attorney said the decisions about whether to testify in a criminal case is usually reserved until the end of the prosecutors’ case. If Perez were to testify now, without the case being separated, he would be faced with a litany of issues that would arise in one case and not the other. In addition, the jury will have to wait two weeks before hearing the defense for the bribery case—and only after prosecutors present their larceny case.

The state is accusing Perez of receiving a bribe from Carlos Costa. Prosecutors say Perez and in return intervened in the relationship between Costa and the city’s Department of Public Works.  To date, prosecutors have called 16 witnesses, including city contractor Costa, his vendors, workers and city employees, and consultants. Today they called Inspector Michael Sullivan, who prepared the arrest warrant.

Costa’s testimony revealed that he offered to install a kitchen countertop for the mayor and his wife and he said that it would be “no problem” to do the work cheaper. The initial work of just kitchen countertop evolved into bathroom renovations. He said he had no plans to bill the mayor.

Because of a death in the family of one juror, the court adjourned at 3: 30 today and will resume on Tuesday.

Check back tomorrow for more on Inspector Sullivan’s testimony.


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Day 6: Perez Still On Trial, Judge Excused Juror


HARTFORD – Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey on Wednesday excused the only black female juror in Mayor Eddie Perez’s trial for alleged bribery and larceny.

After sending a note to Dewey, the Cuban-American woman on day six of Perez’s trial testified that she has a medical condition, which prevents her from staying awake and focused. She is also on disability with the state, she said.  

A white juror was sworn in shortly after Dewey released the woman.

In response to questions from The Hartford Guardian about the prior vetting process and whether this matter had come up, Defense Attorney Hope Seeley said, “Nope, she said she could focus and do well then.”

During jury selection, prosecutors opposed the excused juror because she filed a complaint against a police officer who handled the investigation of her rape case, saying he tried to steer her in selecting the wrong man for her rape. Seeley had objected to her being removed from the case.

There’s now only one person of color on the jury, a Latino. The other two people of color are alternates and women:  one African American and one South Asian.

On the first two days of  the trial all four jurors of color sat in the back, while all  five white jurors sat in front. Occasionally, the South Asian woman sat in the front and the only white male sat in the back. It was a noticeably pattern.

The racial makeup in the Perez’s trial is important and might be cause for concern, some say.

“That’s a huge blow to Mayor Perez,” said Hartford Attorney Carlton Hume.“That’s because they are putting a white suburbanite on.” 

But Hume added that if the Cuban-American juror’s story is correct, then she’s of no use to the court.

“If she’s not paying attention and cannot follow proceedings, it is also not fair to Perez because she wouldn’t have an independent thought process,” he said. “Perez would have been judged by a jury of five and not a jury of six.”

The state is accusing Perez of receiving a bribe from Carlos Costa and in return intervened in the relationship between Costa and the city’s Department of Public Works.  To date, prosecutors have called 12 witnesses, including city contractor Costa, his vendors, workers and city employees, and consultants.

Costa’s testimony revealed that he offered to install kitchen countertops for the mayor and his wife and that it would be “no problem” to do the work cheaper. The initial work of just kitchen countertop evolved into bathroom renovations. He said he had no plans to bill the mayor.

On Wednesday, Dewey also ruled that State Inspector Michael Sullivan, who is scheduled to testify today, can not reveal before the jury information gleaned from a secretly taped conversation between himself and Defense Attorney Hubert Santos.

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