Haggerty was accused of defrauding Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of approximately $1 million in connection with the mayor's 2009 campaign, in which he hired the Haggerty-run Special Elections Operations, LLC (SEO) to handle ballot security and poll watching.
On Monday he was found guilty.
The operation was run through the Independence Party, to which the mayor gave $1.1 million. According to the verdict, the party wired $750,000 of the money to SEO's account, which Haggerty then used to buy out his brother's half of the family's house in upscale Forest Hills Gardens.
While what Haggerty did was wrong, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, has been making the case a much more high-profiile affair than it deserves. Vance has received a lot of criticism lately for mishandling cases, most notably the rape case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Former International Monetary Fund chief who was accused of sexually assaulting a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel.
We feel Vance used the Haggerty trial to bolster his public image.
Sure, Haggerty stole the mayor's money, but surely a man who made billions in the private sector has a competent campaign staff that can insure that campaign money is spent wisely. And for the record, it was never the mayor that complained his campaign was defrauded out of the money.
As part of the verdict, Haggerty will be forced to repay $900,000. It should have stopped there.
Instead, to bolster his own image as a effective prosecutor, Vance is pursuing jail time, and Haggerty will likely spend between one and four years in jail. We think probation and staying away from politics would have been an appropriate punishment.
Vance can't seem to get an alleged rapist behind bars, but at least he can throw the book at a low-level political operative and make sure our billionaire mayor doesn't lose a drop of his money.