I got to see a little bit of former City Clerk Bill McInerney’s testimony last week in the trial of Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough and former Councilman Michael LoPorto and I came away with the fact McInerney committed a lot more felonies than the one he pleaded guilty to. I’m not sure if I believe the 900 estimate Brian Premo, McDonough’s attorney, threw out there but I’m confident it’s more than one and I know the forgeries went back to the ’07 and ’08 elections as well.
While I was over there the majority of time was spent by Trey Smith, the special prosecutor, going over slides of absentee ballot applications and absentee ballot envelopes. Smith would ask McInerney what fields were done in his hand and time and again McInerney said “that’s mine,” as in that’s his handwriting. As I said, it may have been less than 900 but clearly more than one.
In exchange for not being penalized for up to 899 felonies, McInerney, of course, agreed to testify against McDonough and LoPorto but from what I can see he didn’t do much damage to either one of them, at least not as much damage as everyone thought he was going to do. Honestly, outside of him saying he saw LoPorto walk away from City Hall with what looked like a package of forged ballots he didn’t say too much of anything. If Smith did forgive some 899 felonies, I hope he gets something a little better than he got so far, which as near as I can tell is about next to nothing.
Like Councilman Kevin McGrath, who admitted on the stand to a federal felony conviction for conspiring to distribute marijuana, McInerney did do some sufficient damage to himself though. While under cross from Premo, McInerney admitted he was accused of stalking, convicted of a couple drinking related offenses and was fired from the Assembly for making a rude comment to a female who just got promoted and then another one to a homosexual male who stuck up for her.
A couple things come to mind: One, it’s really not that easy to get fired from the Assembly and two I wonder how many of the Democratic councilmen who appointed McInerney to the post after they took the majority in ’08 knew about his history. My guess is not many.
Also, District Attorney Rich McNally’s name came up more than once as it did in a number of Premo’s pre-trial motions. It’s no secret McInerney was forging ballots when McNally beat Greg Cholakis in 2007 by just more than 200 votes but whether or not he knew what McInerney was up to is an open question. My guess is he didn’t know the nuts and bolts of what was going on but was grateful when the absentees broke his way and he became DA. It’s not a crime but certainly does raise the question of whether or not McNally would have won without McInerney’s use of a pen and a list of eligible voters.
McInerney will be back on the stand Monday morning to continue cross examination under Michael Feit, LoPorto's attorney.
Labels: cholakis, LoPorto, McDonough, McInerney, mcnally, Premo