John Liu's former campaign associates are charged in a straw donor scheme and are now on trial in federal court. On Thursday, an undercover FBI agent who recorded hours of undercover video took the stand. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
A video from an August 2011 fundraiser for John Liu shows the comptroller hugging Oliver Pan.
Pan is a former Liu fundraiser who is now facing federal fraud charges for a straw donor scheme, a scheme prosecutors say was to get over-the-limit campaign donations and, potentially, public matching funds to the comptroller.
But neither the comptroller or Pan knew the man referred to in the video as Mr. Kong was an undercover FBI agent.
That FBI agent, who took undercover video in connection with the case, took the stand at Pan's trial on Thursday.
The agent told Pan he would donate $16,000 to the Liu campaign, a donation more than three times the legal limit.
Pan was heard talking to the agent about it during a telephone conversation.
"Here is the thing: Only John knows it's your event. Legally, on the form, it's the money from everybody," Pan said on the recording.
The John he is talking about is Comptroller John Liu.
Pan was talking about straw donors, people who donate to a candidate using other people's money.
In this case, it was the FBI's cash.
Liu's former treasurer, Jenny Hou, has also been charged in the scheme.
The comptroller has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
He has said he looks forward to the trial.
When asked about the video on Thursday, the comptroller said, "I attend fundraisers like every other candidate does."
Over the course of the investigation, the agent also got an inside look at the Liu campaign, sitting down with a top aide alongside Pan.
"The people who have the ability to raise that kind of money is John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, Scott Stringer. These are some of the players. They don't have that ability," Mei-Hua Ru, a Liu campaign aide, said in one of the videos. "Not to raise $8 million. We do. John Liu, they once called him the fundraising prodigy."
The jury is still in the process of viewing all of this video.