Three weeks after he was arrested and charged with stealing public tax dollars, Queens City Councilman Ruben Wills held an unorthodox press conference to attack state attorney general Eric Schneiderman and plead his innocence. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Recently indicted City Councilman Ruben Wills held an unusual press conference on Wednesday, three weeks after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged him with grand larceny and fraud.
"The attorney general's office has maliciously put out misinformation to tarnish my name, my reputation, and has put my safety and others in jeopardy by saying I wore a wire," he said.
Wills was there to slam the attorney general. His lawyer is claiming that the charges were politically motivated.
The councilman denied a report that he wore a wire during the investigation.
"The attorney general's office on several occasions has asked me to wear a wire, and each time, I told them no," Wills said.
Wills' laywer, Steve Zissou, accuses Schneiderman of a political witch hunt. He plans to request a special prosecutor to take over the case.
"We don't think he's capable of being fair and impartial in this case," Zissou said.
Wills is accused of stealing thousands in city and state tax dollars, cash that, in part, was supposed to go to a nonprofit group he ran for single mothers and youth. Schneiderman says Wills used the cash on himself.
Wills says he is innocent, and he brought along props to prove it, showing photos and flyers of the events he used state cash to pay for.
"You see this. So this is not a figment of my imagination, right?" he said. "This is years and years of what they called a sham not-for-profit's work in the community."
Schneiderman's office released a statement in response to the press conference, saying in part that the attorney general was "... committed to rooting out public corruption wherever it exists and will follow the evidence wherever it leads.”
The councilman did not answer all of the questions NY1 had about the charges against him, including whether or not he misused funds that were supposed to go to his City Council campaign. His attorney says they will answer those questions in court.