Disgraced former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi appeared in court for the first time in months Monday as he prepared to be sentenced for his role in a state pension fund pay-to-play scandal. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Former Comptroller Alan Hevesi once had doors held open for him, as one of the state's top elected officials.
On Monday, though, the 71-year-old former official waiting on line in Downtown Manhattan for his court date like everyone else, as he faced a four-year sentence behind bars.
It was Hevesi's first court appearance since October. He missed a date last week, and word since surfaced in court documents that the admitted felon is sick, with everything from spinal stenosis to sleep apnea, anxiety and depression.
Hevesi and his lawyer declined to comment. Behind the scenes, they are trying very hard to avoid any jail time and sent a thick packet of notes and letters to a judge in a bid for leniency.
Four are doctors notes, detailing the medical ailments of both Hevesi and his wife, in a Bronx nursing home.
Others are personal letters from more than a dozen other supporters, including Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm. They acknowledge Hevesi's crime, but call it a blip in a career of public service.
"You want specific vignettes to help the judge see the other side of him, and for someone like Hevesi, who has had such a long and distinguished public career, you're going to have a lot of that material," said criminal defense attorney Richard Albert.
None of the several letter-writers contacted would talk on camera.
Prosecutors filed their own memo that asks for the maximum. It notes Hevesi gave preferential treatment to a private equity firm in exchange for travel gifts, campaign money and consulting fees to a third party.
"I'm comfortable saying that I'd be very surprised in a case that is this high profile that there wouldn't be prison time," said Albert.
Six years ago, the same judge who will sentence Hevesi gave a lengthy term to other high-profile defendants -- a pair of Tyco International executives convicted of stealing from their firm. They were handcuffed and sent right to prison and not given a chance to turn themselves in.
It is an unlikely, though not impossible future that Hevesi faces Friday.