Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was found guilty Friday on five ofsix counts in his corruption trial. Medics were called to care forhis wife, who was overcome by emotions in court.
The Mayor says he will appeal and will relinquish his duties ofMayor during the process.
The jury found that Mayor Perez accepted a bribe in the form of$40,000 home improvements to protect a city contractor, CarlosCosta, who was in danger of being fired by the public worksdepartment. He also tried to extort $100,000 cash from a developerto help win the favor of North End political broker, Abe Giles.
Mayor Perez, a Democrat, was convicted of:
- Larceny in the First Degree by Extortion,
- Criminal Attempt to Commit Larceny in the First Degree by Extortion
- Bribe Receiving
- Conspiracy to Commit Fabrication of Evidence
- Accessory to Fabrication of Physical Evidence
He was found not guilty on the count of fabricatingevidence.
Medics were called to the court to assist Mayor Perez's wife,Maria Perez, who began sobbing after the verdict was read. Sheappeared to be overcome by grief and shock. Perez himself did notvisibly react after the verdict came down.
Sentencing is set for September 10. He faces up to 60 years inprison.
An appeal is likely.
Mayor Perez was elected in 2001, becoming Hartford's firstLatino mayor. News 8 asked Mayor Perez as he left the courtroom ifhe would be resigning and he said, "We will make an announcementnext week."
"Mayor Perez, his family and his attorneys will make statementsas they digest the verdict and explore their options," Perez'sspokeswoman, Sarah Barr, said in an e-mail to the news media. "Weneed to be considerate of this time."
Hartford City Council released this statement regarding Perez'sguilty verdict: "Today is a difficult day for our city, itsresidents and those who care deeply about Hartford. In response tothe decision of the jury this morning, the City Council is mindfulthat we must make decisions that are in the best interest of theresidents of Hartford. Early next week, the City Council isprepared to take action, if necessary, to move Hartfordforward."
Councilman Kenneth Kennedy tells News 8 "this is a very sad dayfor the city of Hartford. I just feel very bad for themayor's family right now."
"Here at City Hall, the work continues," said David Panagore,COO/Director of Development Services, in the e-mail sent by Barr."The business of serving the residents of Hartford goes on."
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