Perez Trial Enters New Phase - NBC Connecticut

Perez Trial Enters New Phase

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    Prosecutors in the corruption trial of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez have now moved on to the second part of their case.

    On Wednesday, they began presenting evidence related to the larceny by extortion charge the mayor faces.

    Prosecutors say Perez awarded no-bid parking lot deals to north end political boss Abraham Giles in exchange for political support.

    City Councilman Ken Kennedy testified in the case Wednesday afternoon.

    "For whatever reason, the democratic party nomination matters a great deal in terms of being elected or re-elected to office (in Hartford)," said Kennedy.

    With Perez fearing he might lose that nomination back in 2007, prosecutors say he made a deal with Giles to run parking lots in exchange for political support.

    "Abraham Giles, the primary spokesperson for that district, had changed and actually went on radio to support the mayor," said Kennedy. "Prior to that, to my knowledge, Mr. Giles had not been very supportive of the mayor."

    One deal in question involved developer Joseph Citino, who wanted to tear down an eyesore on Main Street known as the Butt-Ugly Building and also develop nearby parking lots.

    However, one of the lots was run by Giles.

    Prosecutors say the mayor told Citino to take care of Giles by paying him the $100,000 Giles was requesting. The deal fell apart and the eyesore remains.

    The defense pointed out Giles had parking lot deals in the city even before Perez was mayor. They also suggested Kennedy may have reason to testify against the mayor.

    "When do you plan to announce your run for mayor?" asked defense attorney Hubert Santos.

    "Um, I may never announce running for mayor," replied Kennedy, who also said he is interested in the job.

    Citino is expected to testify on Thursday.

    The jury in the case thinned out even more on Wednesday. The alternate juror who was involved in a car accident on Tuesday is still in the hospital and was excused from the case.

    Earlier in the trial, a juror was dismissed and replaced by an alternate. Just one more alternate remains in the case.