A political consultant convicted of stealing money from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2009 campaign was sentenced Monday to up to four years in prison. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
John Haggerty entered court a free man Monday, but that didn't last long. The Republican political operative was sentenced to a minimum of 16 months and maximum of four years in prison for stealing $750,000 from Mayor Michael Bloomberg during his 2009 reelection campaign.
"It’s disappointing. But I understand the judge’s rationale," said Haggerty's attorney, Dennis Vacco.
That rationale was in part to restore public confidence in the electoral process. In October, a jury found Haggerty took $750,000 Bloomberg had given to the state Independence Party for an election day security and poll watching operation, and used it instead to buy his childhood home in Queens. His attorneys on Monday called it an aberration, portraying Haggerty as a man of honesty and integrity in an unsuccessful bid to avoid jail time.
While Mayor Bloomberg was called to court to testify as a witness during the trial, he wasn’t present for Monday’s sentencing: A point that was duly noted by Haggerty’s attorneys.
"For the victim not to be here, I mean, most victims would be here to say, you know, 'That’s my money and here’s what I think is the appropriate sentence.' This was afterthought. This is way in his rear-view mirror now," Vacco said.
In fact, Bloomberg said late Monday afternoon he hadn't even heard news of the sentencing.
"I don’t know what it is, and I wouldn’t have any comment. That’s up to the court system," Bloomberg said.
Haggerty has agreed to repay the $750,000, pending the sale of the house in Queens.
The state Independence Party will also pay back another $150,000 that was misused.
Bloomberg, who’s worth an estimated $20 billion, plans to give the money to charity.
Haggerty plans to appeal his conviction.