The defense was allowed to complete its final summary, the prosecution was given time for rebuttal, and Judge Cathy Seibel then instructed the jury as to how the deliberations should proceed.
Defense attorney Michael Burke completed the summation of his defense of Christopher St. Lawrence by once again skating away from the facts, dates, and numbers and directly attacking the character and reliability of two major witnesses, Aron Troodler and Melissa Reimer. He said Reimer was a disgruntled employee and he reminded the jurors that she has a current defamation lawsuit against St. Lawrence.
The rebuttal by prosecution attorney Stephen Richin followed. He started by summing up what the jury had just heard in the last several hours: Distraction; Shifting the Blame; That none of this matters because no one lost any money; The fact that the bond payments were made on time; and St. Lawrence did not personally profit from any of this.
Then he explained, None of these are what this case is about. It’s about whether Christopher St. Lawrence provided fraudulent statements about the bonding and whether he transmitted this information over wires out of state. [Most of the 22 counts comprise securities fraud and wire fraud. The others are conspiracy charges.] He clarified this by explaining that email transmissions and cell phone/texting communications qualify as “wire transmissions.”
Richin then proceeded through a number of counterpoints to what Burke claimed.
Hiding facts about financials does hurt bond investors when it causes them to get lower rates on their investments.
St. Lawrence was looking for plausible deniability and a scapegoat when he suggested pinning this on 88-year old Nate Oberman who works with town finances. Melissa Reimer was brought up on charges because he no longer wanted her and her iPhone at Town Hall.
After getting Melissa out of the building things like the $3.66 million receivable disappeared from the books.
Richin reminded the jurors that virtually all the documents they were shown over the last weeks were signed and approved by St. Lawrence. His control over the entire process was guaranteed by the four hats he wore: Finance Director, Town Comptroller, Budget Officer, and President and Chairman of the RLDC.
Ramapo had become one town with one man with a lot of power.
As to Reimer’s motivation as a disgruntled employee, Richin pointed out that Melissa had sought help from the FBI a full year before the disciplinary charges were filed by St. Lawrence. The timeline more strongly suggests a disgruntled employer not employee.
And her testimony is backed up by thousands of pages of specific documents. Richin then asked, Do you think Melissa Reimer could have made up the story to fool the FBI?
Richin ended with remember what St. Lawrence said, “We all need to be magicians to get the Moody’s ratings I want.” It’s time for the magic making in Ramapo to end.
Instructions for the Jury
Then Judge Cathy Seibel explained all 22 charges and repeated what the prosecution has said several times. This case is about whether Christopher St. Lawrence provided false information to investors and whether he transmitted this information by wire outside of New York State. [Evidence was presented that there were transmissions from New York to Pittsburgh and New York to Alexandria, Virginia.]
Each of the 22 counts have to be considered and a separate determination is to be made for each. The charges are conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud.
The deliberations will begin Thursday morning at 9:30.