Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh was convicted Thursday on federal wire fraud and theft of funds charges for collecting $200,000 in salary for hours he spent golfing, gambling and politicking while he was on the clock as a correction lieutenant at Suffolk County jail.He was described as both a thief and a victim of politically motivated investigators when prosecutors and defense attorneys gave closing arguments Thursday following the three-week-long trial at Central Islip federal court.“The defendant thinks that because because he has influence…he’s special,” Raymond Tierney, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told the jury. “The defendant isn’t special, the rules apply to him, and he needs to be held responsible for his actions.”Federal prosecutors made their case by comparing Walsh’s time sheets with records from Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, various Long Island golf courses, the Conservative Party, his cell phone, bank transactions and other documents between 2011 and 2014. Attorneys for Walsh, who retired shortly before the trial began so he could collect his pension, had argued that he was free to come and go as he pleased and make up the hours later.Among the witnesses who took the stand at the high-profile trial were U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), Judge Anthony Senft and Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer, who also serves as Babylon Town Supervisor. The prosecution’s star witness was Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, the county’s highest ranking elected official who’s also a member of the Conservative Party, which counts Suffolk as having its highest enrollment in New York State. DeMarco testified that he brought the case to the FBI after Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota refused to subpoena Walsh’s records.After quoting Walsh telling internal affairs investigators that Spota wouldn’t prosecute him, Tierney questioned the credibility of the witnesses called by the defense. They included the Hampton Hills Golf Course manager who was unaware that Walsh’s golf cart rental receipts had the correct time on them despite the defense’s claims to the contrary, as well as a deputy warden and former Conservative Party committeeman who said that he’d disapprove of subordinates playing golf while they’re on the clock but didn’t have a problem with Walsh doing so.Leonard Lato, one of Walsh’s defense attorneys, mainly questioned the credibility of the sheriff, whom he called “credibility starved,” “unworthy of belief” and a “vengeful narcissist.” At one point he suggested DeMarco should be the one on the other side of the jail cell bars.“Mr. DeMarco is not only biased against Mr. Walsh, he’s committing a crime,” Lato said, drawing an objection from Tierney that Judge Arthur Spatt overruled. “Ed Walsh should not be in this courthouse; Vincent DeMarco should be as a defendant.”The jury never heard what led to the falling out between Walsh and DeMarco. Walsh had helped DeMarco twice get re-elected, and DeMarco had promoted Walsh to be his liaison to outside law enforcement agencies in 2006.“Something happened and the government never elicited what it was,” Lato said. “Mr. DeMarco knows, but he’s not saying.”Lato also continued to call into question the accuracy of cell-site data authorities used to map where Walsh was on days when he claimed to be at work. Prosecutors called a cell phone engineer to explain how the information proved where Walsh was, but a defense expert witness suggested that the data wasn’t reliable. The verdict suggested that the jury sided with the prosecution’s assertion that the data was correct.Tierney pointed out that one investigator had spotted Walsh, while he knew he was the target of an internal affairs investigation, using a dirt road to leave the jail before his shift was over instead taking the main entrance.“His sneaking around is evidence of his guilt,” Tierney said.Apparently the jury didn’t need much time to agree. Their deliberation lasted about an hour.
The B&H tennis players Jasmina Tinjić (263 on WTA list) and Dea Herdželaš (772 on WTA list) made it to the quarterfinals of the ITF Tournament in Helsingborg, Sweden.In the second round, in a tournament worth 10.000 US dollars, Jasmina Tinjić beat Melanie Stokke (919 on WTA list) from Norway with 6:2, 6:2, while Dea Herdželaš beat Julija Wachaczyk from Germany 6:2, 6:3.In the match for the quarterfinals, Tinjić will play against Sussane Celik from Sweden, the fifth-seeded and 452nd player on the WTA list, while Herdželaš will play against Lisanne Van Riet from the Netherlands (433 on WTA list).In the doubles, Tinjić is paired up with Olga Lanchuk in the semifinals.(Source: Fena)
EL SEGUNDO – As if the questions about their second six-game losing streak of the season and their 36-point drubbing by Dallas weren’t enough, the Lakers also have to wonder just what player they will be getting back this week in Lamar Odom. Odom returned to the practice court Monday – along with forward Luke Walton – and is hopeful of playing Thursday at Denver. That would be less than two weeks after suffering a torn labrum that likely will require surgery after the season. There were positive reviews for both players, whose return undoubtedly will help stabilize a team that has lost 12 of its past 15 games. Whether Odom, though, will be an attacking player or one who is protecting his left shoulder remains to be seen. “I’m going to go out there and play at full throttle,” Odom said. When he is at his aggressive best, Odom is one of the NBA’s most dynamic players, capable of using his speed to take a bigger forward off the dribble or using his size to post up a smaller forward inside. When he is at his passive worst, Odom is largely a jump shooter who takes up residence on the perimeter. Far from putting up triple-double numbers, Odom sometimes goes long stretches without even touching the ball. Odom was the former before he injured his right knee in December and the latter after he returned. The Lakers won just six of 17 games with him back; Odom averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists but shot 41.7 percent. Now the question is which Odom will return for the final 18 games of the regular season. How Odom goes likely will determine whether the Lakers can make something out of this injury-ravaged season. Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, who ran Monday’s practice while head coach Phil Jackson went to the dentist, acknowledged Odom would be putting himself in a position to aggravate his shoulder just by trying to secure a rebound. “You put that shoulder in a situation where you’re reaching back and somebody grabs it, you know it’s going to hurt,” Rambis said. “So it’s something that he’s going to have to continue to fight through and play. “We hope, like he showed today, that he can play through that and he can block it out and be aggressive, and that’s what we need from him.” Odom has been vague about the state of his shoulder, although he reported no pain after practice. He would not commit to offseason surgery and said of his first day back: “I’m just taking my time. I’ll mix it up a little bit more (today).” Rambis said the Lakers forced Odom, who uses his left hand almost exclusively on the floor, to test his shoulder in practice by playing him at a wing spot instead of in the backcourt. “He was in rebounding, he was attacking the basket and he was getting inside,” Rambis said. “That let us know that at least at some point in time mentally, that he’s ready to go with that and ready to challenge his shoulder.” Walton, meanwhile, remained on track to return against Denver. He said he started feeling weakness in his injured right ankle only at the end of practice, after he had become fatigued from playing in three full-court games. The Lakers are 6-15 without Walton, not that he expected his return (along with Odom’s) to provide any guaranteed relief from the Lakers’ collective misery; their past three losses have come by an average of 24points. “It’s not that simple,” Walton said. “We’re not playing like a team right now. Just throwing guys back in there is not going to make it happen. It’ll help, because I think Lamar and I are both very unselfish players, but we’ve got to do it as a team. “We have to all start buying into the offense again, and our defense, we’re not even playing any defense. We’ve got to as a team come together and decide we want to start stopping people.” Rambis also provided some insight as to how Jackson is handling this horrifying stretch of losing. Jackson had suffered through only two five-game losing streaks as a head coach before this season. According to Rambis, Jackson told the Lakers after Sunday’s loss to Dallas that they still were looking at a favorable first-round matchup in the playoffs as long as they could recapture the spirit with which they played earlier this season. “We don’t know if we can beat those teams, but we can certainly challenge all of those teams and make it tough on them in the playoffs in a seven-game series,” Rambis said. “So he still has that confidence, he still has the belief in the team and the guys.” Also: The NBA assessed Kobe Bryant a flagrant foul type1 for an elbow he delivered to the head of Philadelphia’s Kyle Korver late in the first half of Friday’s loss. No foul was called on the play; Bryant was trying to dribble free for a shot. … Bryant and Brian Cook were excused from Monday’s practice. The Lakers played five-on-five with 40-something assistant coaches Brian Shaw and Craig Hodges on the floor. [email protected] (818) 713-3610