Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey rejected several motions by defense attorneys for Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez this morning and told everyone to clear their schedules through the last week of June for the mayor's bribery and corruption trial.
Hubert Santos, representing Perez, sought to have the corruption portion of Perez's trial postponed until after the attempted extortion trial of former state Rep. Abraham Giles. Santos argued that Giles could be called as a defense witness in Perez's trial and might not be willing to testify with his own case still pending.
"We have a situation where Mayor Perez is asked to defend himself, but a material witness will not be available to him," Santos said.
Dewey rejected the motion, saying that waiting for Giles' trial to conclude would significantly delay the proceedings against Perez.
Santos also argued to change the location of the trial after the jury was selected, but before it was sworn in. He said publicity about the charges against Perez have tainted the pool of potential jurors and combining of the two cases against Perez into one trial makes it less likely there would be sufficient minority representation. He sought to be able to move the trial if his supposition proved true.
Dewey rejected that motion, too, and said the request amounted to asking her "go through the entire process and then void it."
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday, with testimony expected to begin around May 11 and last until the last week of June.
Perez was arrested in January 2009 and charged with bribery, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence in connection with work done at his home by a city contractor. He was arrested again in September 2009 and charged with first-degree attempt to commit larceny by extortion and first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny by extortion. Those charges, according to prosecutors, stemmed from an attempt to extort money from a private developer for the benefit of Giles, a former state Rep. and city political operative who helped Perez with his 2007 mayoral campaign.