John Liu raised cash and all but formally declared his candidacy for mayor at a Tuesday birthday fundraiser -- but the fraud trial of his former treasurer still looms over his campaign. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
He may be embattled, but that didn't stop his birthday party.
For now he's the comptroller, but John Liu is widely expected to run for mayor later this year.
"Like most New York City elections it's going to be no holds barred," Liu said. "I am ready for this."
But the patriotic trimmings at this birthday fundraiser, even the fruit filled cake, did not hide the shadow over his campaign.
"Nothing has been proven. He hasn't done anything wrong," one supporter said.
Liu's former campaign treasurer heads to trial on fraud charges next month. She and a Liu fundraiser are accused of a straw donor scheme to get over the limit campaign donations to the comptroller.
"You know exactly what the last year has been full of," Liu said. "This is why I am looking forward to February 4th, when I think a lot of facts will come out."
The scandal has dogged the comptroller for a year. He could be called to testify at trial.
At the same time, he has continued to eye City Hall and his supporters, at least those at the Chinatown restaurant where he held his party, have stuck by his side.
"John's been a good friend throughout the years and I think he's done a great job as the comptroller of the city," Queens and Bronx Congressman Joseph Crowley said.
"I believe in John Liu. I believe he has character," supporter Virginia Kee said. "I believe he has leadership, ability and integrity."
While some expected a big announcement from Liu, they didn't exactly get what they hoped for. He said he would be making an announcement soon.
"Bottom line is that I am going to be running in 2013."
For now, he isn't saying specifically for what.