Leaders of the Working Families Party on Wednesday protested outside of a Staten Island courthouse after a special prosecutor indicted three campaign workers and the party's now-defunct consulting arm. It's the result of a lengthy investigation that the borough's district attorney, Dan Donovan, has tried to avoid, but it may creep up on him as he runs for Congress.
The steps of a Staten Island courthouse were busy on Wednesday.
Special prosecutor Roger Adler was interrupted by chants while trying to talk about the indictment of three people: two campaign workers for Councilwoman Debi Rose and a former employee of the Working Families Party who is now the chief of staff to a top leader in the City Council.
"I still do not know why I'm here," said David Jones, one of the defendants.
Adler has accused them of violating campaign finance law, in part to get Rose campaign work done at a discount back in 2009, a discount allegedly provided by the political consulting arm of the Working Families Party.
"This indictment is not about the issues of what WFP stands for or any political party. What it's about is playing by the rules," Adler said.
Not surprisingly, the party and its closest allies said Adler is politically motivated.
"Justice is elusive in Richmond County," Rose said.
"This is McCarthyism," said Bob Master of the Working Families Party.
"Roger Adler is a willful imbecile," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.
The only reason why Adler has the case is because the district attorney on Staten Island recused himself back in 2012.
Coincidentally on Wednesday, Dan Donovan made an appearance moments after the crowd dispersed. The DA was accepting a new endorsement in his run for Congress.
The Republican's reasons for recusal are under seal, and when NY1 asked, he refused to elaborate.
"We're not part of that case any longer. My application is under seal," Donovan said. "I'm the one that believed that it should be sealed to protect the identities of some people."
So for now, we won't know what these so-called conflicts of interest are.
Donovan said he doesn't know the special prosecutor and has no connections to the Working Families Party.
"I have not received their endorsement. I don't have any connection with them in court. I don't actually know them," he said.