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.
A federal judge presiding over the trial of City Comptroller John Liu's former campaign treasurer and a Liu donor has scheduled a conference in the high profile corruption case on Tuesday. The conference may shed some light on why the criminal case was delayed last week.
Oliver Pan and Jenny Hou, the ex-campaign treasurer, are accused of allegedly using so-called straw donors to fraudulently qualify Liu’s campaign war chest for thousands of dollar in public matching funds.
The trial was delayed when Judge Richard Sullivan learned of a pre-trial report that flagged Pan’s mental health.
Former Federal prosecutor Robert Mintz said such a concern is pivotal because every defendant has to be deemed capable of helping in their own defense.
"The reason this is an important issue is because if it is ultimately determined even after a trial that the defendant was not capable of understanding what was going than it is likely the case would be overturned on appeal regardless of the outcome," Mintz said.
With the delay of the federal trial, the case is back in the news. Liu has denied he had knowledge of any campaign finance irregularities and has continued to conduct himself as a potential Mayoral contender.