In Manhattan federal court today, Judge Richard Sullivan set a date for the government’s case against former John Liu campaign treasurer Jia Hou to begin on February 4th, 2013, less than a year before the first primary election in Liu’s presumed bid to become New York City’s next mayor.
Hou, the 25-year-old former treasurer, is accused of helping accrue illegal campaign donations for the City Comptroller, through a system of straw donors, and is also accused of failing to fully disclose the names of the campaign’s intermediaries.
Lefcourt said Hou’s defense team needed much more time to review the government’s case against her, which includes more than 1,100 conversations recorded through government wiretaps, Hou’s emails and instant messages.
“We are dealing with a monumental problem here,” Lefcourt said, as he asked for the government to disclose more information about their case against Hou. “I’ve tried to get the government to tell us whether they are going to introduce evidence from a large number of wiretaps. They have refused to tell us whether they are going to,” he said.
Lefcourt also asked the government to identify which intermediaries and straw donors Ms. Hou refused to produce. “You say that they are straw donors. Well who are the straw donors? They won’t tell us,” he said.
Judge Sullivan, explaining to Hou and her co-defendant Xing Wu Pan why the government would push the trial date further into the future and closer to the mayoral primary election, said Hou and Pan’s interests outweighed the need for a speedy trial. “Some cases are more complicated than others,” he said.
The courtroom’s benches were filled with spectators, who appeared to have come mostly in support of the defendants, particularly Ms. Hou.
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