Robert Wiesner says that he is the target of a political prosecution.
During a press conference this afternoon, Wiesner and his attorney, James Nobles, addressed the two felony charges filed against Wiesner by the state Attorney General's Office. The charges became public yesterday when a judge unsealed an indictment, which also charged three other people.
The indictment alleges that the four had some role in a bid-rigging scheme involving two county-linked local development corporations: Upstate Telecommunications Corporation and Monroe Safety and Security Systems. All four defenda nts pleaded not guilty at their arraignments yesterday.
Wiesner and Nobles said that the state Attorney General's Office has not provide specific allegations to substantiate the charges against Wiesner, who is County Executive Maggie Brooks' husband. And both decried the way the arrests and the arraignments were handled. State Attorney General's Office officials marched Wiesner and the other defendants, with handcuffs on, across Exchange Boulevard to the city's Public Safety Building, before the indictment was unsealed. A deputy press secretary for the AG's office had tipped off some local media to what's commonly called a "perp walk."
"In my 30 years in law enforcement I have never treated a defendant as I was treated yesterday," said Wiesner, a retired Rochester police officer. "It was a blatant and calculated act by the attorney general's office to embarrass me, embarrass my wife, and prejudice the case."
Wiesner's full statement is available here
Wiesner said that he was not involved in selecting or awarding contracts for Upstate Telecommunications, which leases information technology and office equipment to the county. He also said that he was not involved in the "selection committee or contract process" for Monroe Safety and Security Systems.
Nobles has filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Wiesner and to have the case re-heard by a new grand jury. The reason: Nobles said he requested that his client have a chance to testify in front of the AG's grand jury, but Wiesner never got that chance. Nobles said that's against the law, and a violation of Wiesner's rights.
Earlier this afternoon, Carrie Andrews, Democratic minority leader in the County Legislature called for the Legislature to take over the oversight of an internal investigation into two LDC's targeted by the AG's probe.
Andrews also called on County Executive Brooks to step away from the investigation, which Brooks initiated. The attorney hired for the internal probe, former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, is reporting to Brooks. Andrews said that when she watched the press conference held by Brooks and Vacco last night, that was the first time she'd heard information about Vacco's findings. Vacco should report his work to the Legislature, Andrews said, which should then lead the investigation of the LDC's.
"I think that the county executive has a clear conflict of interest, and that's the bottom line," Andrews said at the afternoon press conference.