NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Two former associates of a candidate seeking to become the city’s first Asian-American mayor were convicted Thursday in a scheme to illegally raise campaign funds.
The defendants were charged amid an undercover FBI investigation of the campaign fundraising for City Comptroller John Liu, a Democrat. A Manhattan jury delivered the verdicts on the first full day of deliberations.
Jurors heard secretly recorded tapes prosecutors said showed Liu’s two associates, Jia “Jenny” Hou and Xing “Oliver” Wu Pan, plotted to cheat the city out of campaign matching funds and then lied about it. Defense lawyers argued there was no proof their clients ever intended to break the fundraising rule.
The jury convicted the pair after only one day of deliberations.
Liu was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing. Following the convictions, Liu released the following statement:
“I am deeply saddened by the verdict. I continue to believe in Jenny being a good person and exceptional individual. I look forward to this year’s Mayoral election and will continue to ask the voters for their support.”
Liu also scheduled a media availability later Thursday evening to answer questions.