For the second day, former City Councilman Dan Halloran took the stand in his own corruption trial, saying he did not take any bribes in exchange for projects in his district known as member items.
Former City Councilman Dan Halloran is back on the stand, saying he did not commit bribery.
"Looking forward to continuing telling the truth and making sure the jury hears the other side of the story," Halloran said on his way into court.
Prosecutors claim Halloran sold off his City Council member items. In exchange, they claim he accepted bribes from a government informant and an FBI agent posing as an upstate real estate developer.
However, Halloran swore under oath that they have it all wrong.
"That's where he drew the line, at anything illegal," said Vinoo Varghese, Halloran's attorney.
Yes, he directed his staff to draft letters that show the then-councilman wanted to allocate public tax dollars for a no show-job, indirectly sending cash to the government informant and the undercover agent,
Halloran, however, told the jury the letters were fakes. He was lying to the so-called businessmen, "yesing them to death," he said. Really, the councilman said he was just trying to get them to donate to his failed 2012 congressional campaign.
There is a tightrope you have to walk between not wanting to tick off or, for lack of a better word, piss off a donor," Halloran told the jury.
"Telling these guys that he was going to do something that he wasn't is not a crime," Varghese said.
Asked whether it was a quid pro quo, Halloran said absolutely not. The councilman explained politics is about cashing in favors.
"If you do these things, we'll do these things for you. Overall, in politics, that is what's happening. When someone gives a donation to a campaign, that is what they are doing," he said on the stand.
"It has to do with his intent, whether he was going to do something that was criminal, and that's not what he did."
Halloran was also quizzed about $800 in cash handed to him after one of his many meetings with the undercover.
"Was it in return for anything?" his attorney asked.
"No. He's basically a wealthy developer guy and was helping me out," Halloran said.
"He actually declared it on his taxes," Varghese said.
Halloran is expected to take the stand again on Monday, and his attorney is hopeful that the jury will get the case sometime next week.