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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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Day 5 : Mayor Perez On Trial, Wants To Testify


HARTFORD — After seeing the Office of the Chief State Attorney’s evidence for bribery–especially its star witness–Mayor Eddie Perez wants to testify in his defense. And there might be reasons for a mistrial, according to Perez’s lawyer.

Day five of the state’s case against Perez was a repetitive listing of the type of renovations done on his house. The day ended early and with Attorney Hubert Santos request to Judge Julia Dewy to rule on whether a secretly taped conversation with the chief state attorney can be used in the combined trial of Perez’s bribery and larceny cases.

Santos told the judge he learned that the state intends to use the secretly taped conversation between him and Inspector Michael Sullivan, who is scheduled to take the stand on Thursday. This move, Santos said, “raises many issues” because  Sullivan might implicate and force him to remove himself from Perez’s defense team.

State Prosecutor Michael Gailor said Santos told his office  that the invoice represented all the work done at the mayor’s house. The state said the mayor allegedly received  $40, 000 worth of work for $20,000.

Santos said  that although he was the mayor’s lawyer in July  2007, he wasn’t fully aware of the case at that point when he spoke to Attorney Kevin Kane and sent over a requested  invoice , which  he thought reflected all the work at Perez’s house on Bloomfield Avenue.

“What the state wants to do is to quote me through this representation,” Santos said.

Judge Dewey said she will review the information and rule on whether  prosecutors can use the  taped conversation, which is illegal in Connecticut. But there is an exception for law enforcement officers.

In January 2007,  the chief state’s attorney’s began investigating allegations of corruption against Perez, who was elected in fall 2001. The mayor had his kitchen and bathroom remodeled by USA Contractors, inc., owned by city contractor. Costa is also Perez’s friend.

Costa, in a competitive bid, won the  a $5.3 million contract to do the Park Street renovation project, which later morphed into a nightmarish job and resulted in a contentious relationship between him and the city’s Department of Public Works.

The state is accusing Perez of receiving a bribe from Costa and for intervening  in the relationship between Costa and DPW.  To date, prosecutors have called nine witnesses, including the star witness, city contractor  Costa. They also called Costa’s  vendors, workers and city employees, including workers from a consultant firm, Urban Engineers.

Costa’s testimony revealed that he offered to install kitchen countertops for the mayor and his wife. Defense claimed  that Costa said 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.

Dewey is expected to rule on whether Perez can testify and on whether Sullivan can testify about the content of the secretly taped conversation between him and Santos.

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