Last week, the voter fraud case in Troy, New York saw embarrassing testimony from a current member of the city Council, Kevin McGrath, who relayed fears of running for public office because of his history of substance abuse, and “the fact that he is a convicted felon”. More shameful was McGrath’s willingness to make light of his felony conviction, stating that he “didn’t make much of a profit”, a comment that prompted an apology from the judge presiding over the case.
Yesterday brought testimony from the former city clerk who allegedly spearheaded the operation, William McInerney. The Democrat admitted his own guilt in the forgery case, while implicating others as well. McInerney testified to preying on people living in public housing saying, “I went to the projects to see if voters would sign the applications and if not I’d forge them.” McInerney officially pled guilty to forgery back in August.
The admission prompted the former mayor of Troy, Republican Harry Tutunjian, to post a scathing statement on Facebook.
I sat in on the voter fraud trial today. I was disgusted to hear the former city clerk admit that he has been forging and voting absentee ballots since at least 2007. What is more disturbing is that he admitted that other council members also forged and voted ballots. They all knew what they were doing. So what did they do when they got caught? They blamed Bob Mirch, they blamed me, and they blamed everyone else.
This gang of admitted and accused criminals made the last two years of my term very difficult. They accused me and members of my administration of criminal acts, bullying, thuggery, you name it. I am not ashamed to say I feel a certain sense of satisfaction in hearing they actually did far worse than what they accused me of. It is a shame that the people of Troy were represented by true criminals that stole the votes of unsuspecting residents for many years.
Bear in mind that eight members of the Democrat party have been indicted, charged, or implicated in the voter fraud scandal. The reference to Mirch coincides with statements from the Democrats in which they tried to collaborate with the Working Families Party to draft a press release which blamed the voter fraud on the former Republican Public Works Commissioner.
Little could Tutunjian have known how prescient his statement would be. “They actually did far worse” played out in an incredible way during today’s courtroom drama. Defense attorney Brian Premo at one point suggested that McInerney could have been charged with several hundred felonies, despite having pled to only one. McInerney was sentenced to 90 days in a Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department work program to avoid jail time.
Several hundred felonies in exchange for testimony and a 90 day slap on the wrist?
Adding insult to injury, McInerney also testified about a drunk driving conviction, had to answer questions about a sexual harassment claim which led to his termination at a job with the New York State Legislature, and having an order of protection issued for stalking his ex-wife.
From the Times Union:
William McInerney, the former city clerk who spearheaded a scheme to steal votes and cooperated with the prosecution of two other Troy Democrats accused of ballot fraud, admitted he was accused of stalking women.
“An old girlfriend stated something along the lines of that,” McInerney said during questioning by Brian Premo, who represents Edward McDonough, one of the two men on trial for allegedly forging ballots in the 2009 Working Families Party primary.
Premo also asked McInerney about an allegation that he stalked his ex-wife. McInerney admitted an order of protection was filed for the alleged stalking.
In regards to the sexual harassment incident, the Union also reported that:
Premo questioned him about his termination from a job at the state Assembly. Premo suggested McInerny lost the job because he accused a female co-worker of getting a job because she performed a sex act on their boss. Premo noted when a gay male co-worker objected to his remark, McInerny told the man he was upset because the man wasn’t involved with the boss.
It is quite the cast of characters that were running the city of Troy between 2007 and 2011.
These days it seems, McGrath is far less concerned about public perception, at one point cracking a joke about his lack of drug-peddling business savvy – a comment that forced him to apologize to the judge.
During his testimony, McGrath stated that he was not convicted of distributing 220 lbs. of pot, but rather, he was involved with less than 10 lbs, or 100 kg. Which led him to deadpan this joke – “I wasn’t too good. Didn’t make much of a profit.” The comment prompted an apology for Judge Pulver. Apparently, making light of a serious crime doesn’t sit well in Pulver’s courtroom.
McGrath’s joke prompted a tweet from the former Mayor of Troy, Harry Tutunjian, who is attending the trial as an observer.
So now a current city councilman can joke about not having made a profit selling drugs? He plead guilty to a federal felony #ballotfraud — Harry4Troy (@Harry4Troy)
Indeed, McGrath did plead guilty to a federal felony. On a blog called Talespin, Record reporter Jim Franco explains:
Well, now we know about the mysterious arrests that have been the subject of a sporadic, if not intense, whisper campaign about Kevin McGrath, D-District 1.
On the stand yesterday, McGrath said he was convicted on federal charges of conspiring to sell pot some 14 years ago. Initially it was said in court there was 100 kilograms involved but today he said it was more like 10 pounds. He also had a criminal mischief conviction thrown in and two drinking related convictions.
Of course, there are those, on both sides of the aisle, who are asking the rhetorical question of how is he fit he is fit to serve on the Council?
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 that “he used to drink and drive and do drugs with McGrath” less than two years ago.
Of course, this entire trial has some wondering how exactly McGrath was able to avoid being charged with new felonies, like his counterparts Ed McDonough and Michael LoPorto, who face a combined one hundred-plus charges in the voter fraud scandal. In a June op-ed, former Democrat Party Chairman, Frank LaPosta, wrote:
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…
The people of District 1 and the city of Troy have a right to know why McGrath was given such favorable treatment to avoid criminal prosecution for acts he may have committed as part of the voter fraud scandal. These acts are very similar to what two individuals did who were in turn indicted by the same grand jury for multiple felony counts of alleged fraud and forgery. McGrath himself benefitted from the voter fraud in 2009 which allowed him to secure the Working Families party line on the ballot.
Details of the immunity agreement came out during yesterday’s testimony when McGrath admitted on the stand that he has gotten favorable treatment, meaning no prison time, for several alleged crimes, including a felony drug conviction.
It should be noted that LaPosta, who was Chairman at the time of the voter fraud scandal, faced no investigation and has maintained that all of this happened on his watch, but unbeknownst to him. One tends to believe his story, as LaPosta had to switch parties over the scandal, eventually running against – and losing – to Kevin McGrath in the Council race. After the fraud, LaPosta was forced out by his own party, for the crime of speaking out against fellow Democrats who had been involved in the voter fraud.
In regards to the favorable agreement which McGrath was privy to, there may be some holes…
The Record reports this morning:
Just as things got underway Wednesday in the trial of two Democrats suspected of being involved in the 2009 Working Families Party ballot fraud scheme, attorney Brian Premo dropped a small bit of information that sent the court into recess.
Premo began reading off several voter registration cards and absentee ballot applications to Councilman Kevin McGrath, D-District 1, during his cross-examination that were collected by McGrath for the several primaries he was involved in on different party lines. By the end of it, he asked what was done with them and McGrath responded he had given them to Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough, Premo’s client who along with former Councilman Michael LoPorto stands charged with more than 100 felonies…
“I believe there are approximately 20 of those applications with documentation of voter registration forms that are forgeries,” Premo said. “There are several that are not even close and 20 that are questionable.”
It was then asked whether McGrath’s cooperation agreement with Trey Smith, the special prosecutor, covers the Independence and the Conservative parties and or if it is constricted to just the Working Families Party.
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.