WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Feds Wiretapped Comptroller John Liu, Court Filings Show
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Federal authorities looking into New York City comptroller's fundraising practices listened in on his phone conversations, according to new court filings.
The court documents were filed Monday by lawyers for two defendants charged in the case: Xing Wu "Oliver" Pan, an ex-fundraiser, and Jia “Jenny” Hou, an ex-campaign treasurer, for Comptroller John Liu.
Liu, a potential mayoral candidate, hasn't been charged with wrongdoing.
The filings say federal authorities obtained judicial approval for the wiretaps, which began in March 2010.
Pan claims the feds falsely portrayed "conduct and conversations between various persons as evidence of criminal activity."
Both Pan and Hou pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court filings seek a dismissal of the charges.
Pan, was arrested in November of last year as part of an FBI sting operation facilitated by an undercover FBI agent who posed as a businessman looking to make an illegal $20,000 contributions. Federal prosecutors alleged that Pan took the large donation and broke up into smaller straw donors’ gifts which would help circumvent city campaign donation limits while also entitling the Liu campaign to city additional matching funds.
"The Government terrorized Mr. Pan and used the threat of arrest for a crime that it had manufactured to coerce him to help the Government manufacture a crime by Mr. Liu," the papers filed by Irwin Rochman and Gregory Ryan, Pan’s attorneys, contend.
Prosecutors and the FBI declined to comment. The government's response to the filings is due Oct. 10.