Embattled Rochester, New York mayor arraigned on campaign finance charges
Beleaguered Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren — whose administration came under fire for mishandling the case of a Black man who died in police custody — was arraigned Monday afternoon on unrelated campaign finance charges.
Her lawyer, Joseph Damelio, entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf in the Monroe County Hall of Justice to one count each of scheme to defraud and an election-law violation for allegedly evading campaign contribution limits while running for a second term in 2017.
Lovely, wearing glasses, a mask and a white coat, sat behind her attorney in the first row of the gallery during the proceeding.
Cayuga County Judge Thomas Leone ordered Warren released on her own recognizance after prosecutors said the crimes for which she’s charged are not eligible for bail.
“Obviously it goes without saying you cannot be getting into any trouble at all along the way,” Leone cautioned the mayor.
The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office unsealed the indictment last week against Warren, a Democrat, and two associates Albert Jones Jr., her campaign treasurer, and Rosiland Brooks Harris, her finance director.
The indictment alleges that Warren and her co-defendants encouraged 28 donors to exceed $8,500 campaign-contribution limits. The donors gave to her campaign account and a separate political action committee — both to aid her re-election.
Jones and Harris were also arraigned Monday, with their lawyers entering pleas of not-guilty on their behalf. They were released without bail.
The DA began investigating Warren years ago after her opponent in the Democratic mayoral primary, Monroe County legislator Rachel Barnhart, reported her rival’s suspicious fundraising to authorities.
In March, cops found a naked Prude on a Rochester street in the midst of a psychotic break. Bodycam footage shows officers place a mesh “spit hood” over his head and push him into the pavement until he goes limp — all while laughing. He was later declared brain dead and taken off life support.