Ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum found guilty on eight charges

Ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum found guilty on eight charges

MONTREAL — Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum was found guilty Thursday of eight of the 14 corruption-related charges against him.

A judge acquitted him on two charges, while the four others were suspended because of the guilty verdicts.

Applebaum previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, including fraud against the government and breach of trust.

Sentencing arguments will be heard Feb. 15.

Neither the Crown nor the defence told reporters what sentence they will seek.

Applebaum faces a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The verdicts were read out after a brief suspension in proceedings when Applebaum suffered a dizzy spell after being on his feet for more than an hour.

He nearly collapsed just after the judge had been talking about statements by Applebaum caught on wiretap.

As he stumbled, one of his lawyers caught him before he fell.

Asked how his client was doing after the bout of dizziness and the verdicts, defence lawyer Pierre Teasdale replied, “Relatively well, given the circumstances.”

The Crown alleged Applebaum accepted cash through a former aide in return for favours given to local real-estate developers and engineering firms.

The charges stem from crimes alleged to have occurred in two separate deals between 2007 and 2010 when he was mayor of Montreal’s largest borough.

Applebaum, who served as interim Montreal mayor between November 2012 and June 2013, did not testify at his trial.

His lawyer told the trial last November the Crown’s evidence was weak and depended on witnesses who testified against Applebaum to save their own skin.

The case centred on the testimony of a former aide, Hugo Tremblay, who said the longtime local politician introduced him to illicit fundraising.

During the trial, Tremblay testified he led developers and businessmen to believe their projects would be delayed or not approved unless they made a supplemental cash contribution.

Tremblay testified the money was then split with Applebaum.

Two developers also testified about giving cash to Tremblay, saying they believed it was destined for Applebaum.

Businessmen Robert Stein and his associate Anthony Keeler both said it was clear to them Tremblay’s requests for cash originated with Applebaum, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated.

Keeler also testified Applebaum had told him that “talking to (Tremblay) is like talking to me.”

Teasdale had argued the Crown’s case didn’t provide evidence to bolster Tremblay’s claim that money collected by him went to Applebaum.

The Canadian Press

Categories: News, Politics

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