Jury Selection Begins in Bloomberg Campaign Worker Trial
By Kiratiana Freelon on September 19, 2011 3:39pm
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A judge carried out an unconventional poll for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval ratings on Monday, as jury selection began in the trial of a former campaign worker accused of stealing more than $1 million from his re-election coffers.
On Monday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel, who is presiding over the trial of John Haggerty, who allegedly stole $1.2 million from the mayor's personally-funded third term campaign, asked prospective jurors if they had any "favorable or unfavorable" feelings either way about Bloomberg.
Several jurors raised their hands in response to the judge's question, and were relieved from jury duty after speaking privately with the judge.
A couple of released jurors said they were fans of the three term mayor and could not have been impartial on a jury in this case.
Haggerty allegedly funneled the money into a shell company that purportedly provided poll watching and ballot security services on election day in 2009.
But prosecutors say neither Haggerty nor his company, Special Election Operations, provided the services. Instead, he allegedly pocketed the funds that were transferred to his company and used them to pay for a home in Queens, among other things.
Bloomberg is expected to be among the witnesses called to testify in the trial, which prospective jurors were told Monday would last about four weeks.