Hartford city Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson, one of several people charged in connection with the corruption investigation into former Mayor Eddie A. Perez, has applied for a special form of probation.
Airey-Wilson applied for accelerated rehabilitation, a type of probation that would allow her record to be expunged if successfully completed. Her lawyer, Steven Seligman, submitted the application Tuesday to Judge David Gold at Superior Court in Hartford.
She will return to court on Oct. 21, when a judge will probably decide whether to grant the probation.
Airey-Wilson, a Republican, was charged with tampering with physical evidence in connection with the home improvement and bribery scandal that ensnared Perez, who was convicted of five felony corruption charges and sentenced to three years in prison.
Seligman said he was encouraged by Judge Julia Dewey's decision to grant the application of Edward Lazu, a city employee also tied up in the corruption investigation, for accelerated rehabilitation. Lazu was charged with receiving a bribe, forgery and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence in connection with trading favorable treatment toward city contractor Carlos Costa for a new driveway at his Hartford home.
Dewey will take up Airey-Wilson's case in October. "Judge Dewey's decision in the Lazu case indicated to us that she — we hope — would extend the program to Ms. Airey-Wilson," Seligman said. "The allegations against Mr. Lazu were more serious than the allegations against Ms. Airey-Wilson."
"We have a basis for being hopeful that her application will be granted," he said.
Airey-Wilson is accused of tampering with evidence to show that she paid for improvement work at her home, even though the work was being done for free, according to previous testimony from Costa, the central figure in the Perez corruption investigation. Perez was convicted of using his influence at city hall to get discounted work by Costa on his Bloomfield Avenue home. Costa alleged that he needed Perez's help holding onto a $5.3 million contract to reconstruct Park Street, a job plagued by delays and shoddy work.
During testimony at Perez's trial, Costa said he installed a countertop in Airey-Wilson's butler pantry at her request. He said he didn't intend to charge her.
Costa is charged with bribery, tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence. His case is pending at Superior Court in Hartford.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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