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 Bosnian defender doesn’t even flinch as the robbers threaten him (Picture: PA)The judge described Smith, of Islington, north London, as a ‘career criminal’ who was well known to police.He was out on licence for a 42 month burglary sentence in 2017 when he tried to carry out the street robbery.Jailing him, the judge said: ‘It’s fair to say they planned this attack with great care, armed themselves with pointed weapons capable of causing significant injury one said to be a knitting needle one said to be a screwdriver.‘They had stolen a moped and they were disguised in dark clothing and helmets so they could not be recognised.‘It is clear they had been looking for candidates to rob and they can be seen driving up and down the road in the period before this attempt took place.‘It is said and it is obvious that both of these defendants are prolific career criminals.‘They recognised an opportunity to rob both victims and Mr Ozil who was in the vehicle with his newlywed wife and they moved in armed and dangerous. Sead Kolasinac fought off the pair who were armed with knives, a screwdriver and a large knitting needle (Picture: PA)Ozil’s newlywed wife watched in terror from inside the £165,000 car, which then sped away down the wrong side of a mansion-lined road before the targets took refuge at a Turkish restaurant.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe pair followed them on the moped and threw stones at the car in an attempt to stop the vehicle and caused a significant amount of damage.The robbers had ambushed the two players as Ozil was picking up a luxury watch which had been delivered to a teammate’s home.They both admitted attempting to rob the two players at Harrow Crown Court.Appearing before judge Ian Bourne via video link today with his face masked with a blue scarf, Smith was handed a 10 year jail sentence.He remained expressionless but his mother sobbed in the public galley. Sign Up for News UpdatesGet your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and moreSign upNot convinced? Find out more » Ashley Smith (left) was jailed for 10 years and his accomplice Jordan Northover is due to be sentenced (Picture: PA)An armed mugger who tried to rob two Arsenal stars of their £200,000 watches has been jailed for 10 years.Ashley Smith, 30, ambushed the players with the help of accomplice Jordan Northover, 26, in Hampstead, northwest London on July 25.The pair were armed with a screwdriver, knives and a knitting needle, but they didn’t count on the bravery of burly Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac.The footballer, known as ‘The Tank’, jumped out of the passenger seat of Mesut Ozil’s 4X4 and threw punches at the assailants.ADVERTISEMENTHe barely even flinched despite having a sharp knitting needle and knives pointed at him. Jordan Northover is due to be sentenced at a later date (Picture: Enterprise News and Pictures)‘It is clear the two of them hadn’t counted on Mr Kolasinac fighting back and he behaved incredibly bravely with knives pointed in his direction at a time when he knew he was in possession of extremely valuable items which men might use whatever they needed to obtain the watches.’The defender was seen moving around the car to confront the robbers before getting back inside as Ozil sped off.A member of the public spotted the moped left near a park close to Borehamwood and contacted the police, who were able to trace CCTV footage showing the two men walk into a pub.AdvertisementAdvertisementJudge Bourne added: ‘This is a high culpability offence, using weapons to threaten and indeed to cause violence, thrusting the weapon towards Mr Kolasinac who must have been terrified at the events taking place immediately outside his house.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalThe court heard how Smith has 30 convictions dating back to 2008 including burglary, robbery, ABH and theft.Michael Bisgrove, prosecuting, said: ‘The attempt as you will see from the CCTV was quick and violent.‘Both are prolific offenders and they saw this opportunity shortly before 5pm and took it.‘They hadn’t counted in one of the victims fighting back.’Both players escaped without any injuries but the robbery meant they had to miss several matches at the start of the Premier League due to security concerns.Northover, who is being held at HMP Wealstun, West Yorkshire, will be sentenced for attempted armed robbery at a later date.More: UKScotland outlines tier system as millions face new restrictions across UKLondoners ‘should be paid a Universal Basic Income if circuit-breaker comes in’Queen criticised for not wearing face mask in first appearance since lockdown Got a story for Metro.co.uk? Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] For more stories like this, check our news page. Moped mugger who tried to rob Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil jailed for 10 years Advertisement Comment Ashley Smith’s mother sobbed in the gallery as he was jailed (Picture: PA) James HockadayFriday 8 Nov 2019 10:39 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link202Shares Advertisement