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.
MASON CITY — Remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal are expected to reach Iowa Tuesday morning, bringing heavy rain and potential flash flooding.Meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff, at the National Weather Service, says those big named storms over the Gulf of Mexico usually break up before they reach Iowa, but this one should remain a post-tropical depression, which is very uncommon.“That has really only happened once since records have been kept and that was in 1900, a Galveston (Texas) hurricane,” Hagenhoff says, “so, very rare.” The storm’s arrival will mean the end of the hot and humid weather in Iowa, funneling in much cooler temperatures and the potential for multiple heavy downpours between Tuesday morning and evening.“We are looking at rainfall totals of between two to three inches that go across portions of southeast and eastern Iowa,” Hagenhoff says. “That’s really where the main axis is going to be for the heavier precipitation.” The storm may bring western and central Iowa just an inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain, but then another system will arrive from the west late Tuesday into Wednesday morning, which could bring another inch or two of rain.“Thankfully, the rain with that secondary system coming out of the west is going to bring the heavier rainfall across western and central Iowa,” Hagenhoff says. “So, the axis for the heavy rainfall from the tropical system and the secondary one are not going to overlap.”A Flash Flood Watch is in effect along and east of the Interstate 35 corridor, including the Mason City-Clear Lake area.
Severe thunderstorms possible this afternoon and evening.This is an alert to the potential development of severe thunderstorms with large hail and damaging winds.Monitor weather conditions, listen for updated statements. If threatening weather approaches take immediate safety precautions.- Advertisement -Conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Potential exists that some of these thunderstorms may become severe. Strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours are possible associated with these thunderstorms.