The answer of course, is yes.
Last month, current Troy City Councilman Kevin McGrath took the witness stand at the local voter fraud trial, and having recently accepted a plea deal in the trial, delivered testimony laced with sheepish statements, deep regret, and a pained look of remorse on his face.
Just kidding – McGrath actually cracked jokes about his felonious drug dealing past.
During his stint on the stand, McGrath admitted being concerned about running for public office because of his history of substance abuse, and ‘the fact that he is a convicted felon’. His concern quickly dissipated however, as he cracked a joke about his lack of drug-peddling business savvy, stating that he “wasn’t too good” because he “didn’t make a profit” – comments that forced him to apologize to the judge.
Methinks the councilman is being a bit modest in his assessment of his drug dealing capabilities. A fantastic report by
Brendan Lyons of the Times Union shows that McGrath was part of a highly successful network that ran “open-air” drug transactions from a home on Fourth Street in Troy.
A DEA-led investigation had indicated that the 17 individuals arrested (including McGrath), were operating their business at a profit of a ‘few million dollars’. McGrath pled guilty but received a cooperation agreement which resulted in home confinement and ultimately three years of probation.
Additionally, it should be noted that McGrath wasn’t simply making a joke about something that happened 14 years ago. On January 31st, Thomas Dickinson testified during the same trial, that “he used to drink and drive and do drugs with McGrath” less than two years ago.
Clearly, McGrath’s comments on the stand show a pattern of not accepting responsibility for past behaviors, making jokes in an effort to minimalize his role in the drug arrest. But a felony conviction in a multi-million dollar drug trafficking operation is no laughing matter.
The voter fraud testimony reveals another pattern with McGrath, however – one of receiving favorable deals in major legal matters. First came the drug agreement, followed by what one fellow Democrat called “the deal of a lifetime” in the voter fraud trial.
Despite the possibility of being a major piece in the ballot fraud scheme, McGrath was given yet another cooperation deal. The Times Union report questions such a deal for a man who already had a prior conviction. They also wisely point out that McGrath is a well-connected Democrat, being the brother of state Supreme Court justice, Patrick McGrath.
One of the defense attorneys for the ballot fraud case, Brian Premo, has fervently questioned McGrath’s deal and whether it was a result of close ties to the Democrat political machine. The Union report states:
A year ago, Premo had attacked the prosecutor’s decision to grant immunity to McGrath and several other Democrats implicated in the scheme. In pretrial filings, Premo suggested that McGrath was heavily involved but had been given immunity, in part, because his brother is a judge and the family has strong ties to the county’s Democratic machine.
“In short, the relevant facts and irrefutable evidence establish that the (special prosecutor) has apparently for conflicting personal interests and political reasons brought this prosecution against McDonough and LoPorto instead of the Democrat Troy Council incumbents and/or party workers implicated by substantial credible evidence in the alleged crimes,” Premo wrote in a pretrial memorandum.
Former Democrat Party Chairman, Frank LaPosta, referred to the arrangement as “the deal of a lifetime”.
Troy City Councilman Kevin McGrath, D-District 1, got the deal of a lifetime revealed in a recently disclosed cooperation agreement with the special prosecutor in the Troy voter fraud investigation. This agreement allows McGrath to avoid criminal prosecution for any wrongdoing on his part in the voter fraud scandal…
That wrongdoing may have included a bit of forgery of his own…
At the trial last month, Premo pressed McGrath about his criminal background. He also confronted McGrath with a stack of absentee ballots that were not part of Smith’s case but showed what Premo suggested were other forged ballots handled personally by McGrath.
If the agreement only pertains to the WFP, and Premo is able to prove that McGrath’s forgery attempts crossed into the Independent and Conservative lines, then he may yet face charges.
That said, McGrath’s history is too checkered to ignore. It needs to be addressed today. From drug deals, to plea deals, his record is a blight on Troy politics specifically, and New York politics in general.
We are calling on Kevin McGrath to finally do what is right for the city of Troy, and tender his resignation immediately.
Oh what a knee-slapper we witnessed at the upstate New York voter fraud case today!
The Democrat party in this area is but a comedy of errors, day after day in court – problem being, they are the only ones who have had a laugh at the expense of poor, minority voters whose rights were being trampled during recent elections.
Anthony Renna, a long-time Democrat operative who has already been found guilty of second-degree forgery, actually had the fortitude to say the following with a straight face:
When asked why he handed ballots to former City Councilman John Brown, Renna said that he didn’t know what Brown’s intentions were and that “I wasn’t involved in any criminal procedures.”
Of course, in addition to having already been charged, Renna and a cohort in the scandal, Anthony DeFiglio, told police that, “voter fraud is an accepted way of winning elections, and faking absentee ballots was commonplace.”
Fraud and forgery must not register as illegal in the mind of Democrats.
Earlier this month we reported on another statement made by Renna:
Renna explained that the process of handing in forged ballots and fake votes ensures that “ballots are voted correctly.” He adds, “‘Voted correctly’ is a term used for a forged application or ballot.”
It would appear that Renna still isn’t aware that forgery is indeed a criminal procedure. Of course, that might be because he and the Democrats in New York had been getting away with it for some time.
Testimony today revealed that one of the defendants in the case, Edward McDonough, one of two Democrats facing a litany of charges involving forgery and falsifying documents, had provided State Police with evidence that Renna himself had forged ballots in the 2007 general election, as well as the 2009 primary.
At one point during his testimony, Renna was challenged by defense attorney Brian Premo, “You committed many felonies of voter fraud over the past 20 to 30 years, isn’t that right?”
Renna denied that was the case, but as we reported earlier in the trial, a State Police Investigator stated that DeFiglio had referred to the voter fraud scheme as a ‘normal political tactic’ that had been taking place for ’25 years’.
Th crux of the defense’s argument was that long-time operatives in the Democrat party such as Renna were actually the ones who had developed the forgery scheme throughout the years, and had simply showed newcomers the ropes.
All told, Renna admitted to forging ten ballots on the stand Wednesday.
He also made statements suggesting that he may have tried to get DeFiglio out of the area to, as in the words of the defense “tamper with the witness”. The exchange as reported by the Times Union:
Premo also asked Renna if he tampered with evidence during the investigation by suggesting that Democratic operative Anthony DeFiglio leave the state when the fraud case broke.
Renna said McInerney sent him to DeFiglio with a job offer in Vermont.
“You wanted to tamper with the witness, right?” Premo asked.
“It all pertained to him not having a job at that time,” Renna said.
“In fact, they did not want him to talk to investigators, right?” Premo asked.
“There was a feeling he might be better off leaving the area,” Renna said.
Renna frequently came off as inept during his testimony, making statements that were not made during previous interviews or testimony, and forgetting names and individuals involved in scenarios when cross-examined.
Premo believes the inept act to be just that – an act.
“In fact you are just play acting for this jury, acting like you are slowed by illness when in fact you’re very streetwise, right?” he asked.
At least the city of Troy can rest easy knowing that Renna and the other Democrats still don’t believe what they did could be considered ‘criminal procedures”.
Opening statements were made by both the prosecution and the defense in a massive upstate New York voter fraud case. Special prosecutor, Trey Smith, promises to expose the seedy underbelly of Democratic politics in the city of Troy, something other Democrats already charged in the case have referred to as ‘normal political tactics.’
The trial involves Democrat Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough, and former Councilman Michael LoPorto, who combined, face over 100 total charges that include second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and second-degree criminal possession.
Smith has claimed that Democrats ‘went for a power grab to ensure that several of its candidates, namely former Councilman John Brown, LoPorto, and former Council President Clement Campana, won the 2009 Working Families Party primary, which would help them win the general election a month later.’
For his part, defense attorney Brian Premo, isn’t necessarily denying the accusations but rather, trying to place “the blame on Democratic politicians and operatives”. He even admitted a scheme in which Brown and Campana, both aspiring mayoral candidates, concocted a story to blame the fraud on then Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch, a Republican.
When the act of fraud was made public, Premo said Brown then held a meeting with members of the Working Families Party and workers from the Board of Elections at LoPorto’s Restaurant on fourth Street. There, he suggested the WFP members blame the fraud on then-Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch.
In our report last week, James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee said, “This was greed, ignorance, lack of ethics, and laziness. Bad people doing bad things.”
Watch the prosecution’s opening statement below…