Mayor Celebrates St. Patrick's Day Free of Threat of Criminal Charges

A day after learning that he would not face criminal charges over his fundraising, Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated St. Patrick's Day and tried to put an end to questions about the lengthy investigations that have hounded him for close to a year.

It was a good morning for Mayor Bill de Blasio, the start of his first full day free from the threat of criminal charges. Federal and local prosecutors announced Thursday they were not bring a case against the Mayor or his associates over the mayor's fundraising.

"A day of celebration and a day to remember," he said.

The celebration at Gracie Mansion was not for the mayor, but for St. Patrick's Day. Later, de Blasio marched up Fifth Avenue in the parade with an Irish flag in his hand and a smile on his face. 

The mayor did not speak to City Hall reporters trailing him along the parade route. While we walked with him, he did not speak to paradegoers either. All the same, one of them held a message for the mayor.

"If he can juggle lawyers so well to get out of trouble, maybe he should join the circus instead of being mayor," said one paradegoer.

The fact that the mayor will not face charges means his path to re-election is largely cleared. Would-be Democratic challengers can now be expected to focus on their own re-election campaigns.

"I have the best job in this city. I'm making a difference. Our office is doing the important work of watchdog," said City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was not tied to any of the investigations, nevertheless seemed eager for the cloud over City Hall to lift.

"Charges have been cleared. There's a lot of work to focus on. We need to move forward," she said.

But the questions about a pay-to-play culture at City Hall have not been put to rest despite the lack of criminal charges.

That's a question for the voters now," said PBA President Patrick Lynch. "When it goes into election time, they are going to have to decide was it over the line or wasn't." 

The mayor is taking a break from campaigning and the city this weekend.  He'll be in Fort Myers, Florida for some spring training baseball games. Then it's back to the grind.

With these investigations in his rear-view mirror now, de Blasio is marching on.

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