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Appellate Court Sets Former Mayor's Appeal Hearing For January


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By JENNA CARLESSO, jcarlesso@courant.com

The Hartford Courant

7:02 PM EST, December 6, 2012

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A hearing on an appeal from former Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez has been scheduled for January.

Perez's appeal to Appellate Court is expected to be heard sometime between Jan. 2 and 23, according to a court docket listing cases for next month. An exact date was not listed.

Attorneys for the former mayor filed their final appellate brief in September, charging that Perez's two criminal cases — one involving bribery and the other extortion — should not have been consolidated into one trial. They also said his convictions should be reversed and that he should get two new, separate trials.

Perez was found guilty in June 2010 of receiving a bribe, being an accessory to the fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to fabricate evidence, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny by extortion and criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny by extortion. He was sentenced in September of that year to three years in prison.

Perez, who has been free on bond, resigned a week after the convictions.

Prosecutors had charged that Perez accepted discounted home-improvement work from a city contractor, Carlos Costa, who they said needed Perez's help to hold onto a $5.3 million contract to reconstruct Park Street, a job mired in problems.

Costa and other witnesses testified during the four-week trial that Perez assigned Charles Crocini, director of capital projects in the mayor's office, to run interference for Costa and try to settle $1.7 million in claims from Costa for extra payments beyond the contract price, even though public works officials and an expert consultant said that most of the claims lacked merit.

The prosecution also asserted that Perez wanted North End politician Abraham Giles to be paid to vacate a parking lot on a sliver of land crucial to a developer's plans for a condominium and shopping center.

Perez's attorneys have argued in court filings that the former mayor's defense was hindered because he was denied the right to testify in the bribery case while remaining silent in the extortion case.