Bloomberg Takes the Stand in Ex-Aide's Trial

Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified Monday against a former campaign operative accused of bilking him out of more than $1 million, with the mayor saying he thought the money was being spent on a poll-monitoring operation and never intended for the consultant to end up with it.

"We could have done a lot of good in society" with it, Bloomberg said of the money. "It's a lot of money."

His demeanor matter-of-fact but wary, Bloomberg answered questions from prosecutors. They were intent on proving that campaign consultant John Haggerty persuaded the mayor and his staff to finance an expansive Election Day initiative that never materialized — then used most of the cash to buy himself a house.

But the mayor also faced more than an hour of sometimes sharp queries from defense lawyers eager to probe into his campaign finances and practices. They aim to paint a picture of a high-rolling candidate surrounded by privileged insiders who skirted ethics rules, threw money at problems and didn't hesitate to bend the law.

Prosecutors do not accuse the mayor of any wrongdoing, and Bloomberg's representatives have said his campaign broke no laws and followed standard practices.

With the Associated Press