Middletown Judge Closing Argument

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Day 11 a.m.- Closing Arguments

Closing arguments began with John Ingrassia, the lawyer for City Court judge Rich Guertin.

To sum up, Ingrassia made these attacks on the prosecution's case:

- He started by hacking away at letters written in 1994 and 1996 by Guertin, who was then the city's lawyer. The letters were introduced as prosecution evidence. The letters dealt with possible conflicts of interest by elected aldermen whose immediate family members stood to benefit from U.S. Housing and Urban Development loans. "We don't have that here," Ingrassia said; Mayor Joe DeStefano, community development chief Neil Novesky and Guertin are accused of conspiring to help the mayor indirectly benefit from HUD loans.

- HUD rules never foresaw a scenario like the ones prosecutors are trying to prove, so there couldn't have been any intent to violate HUD rules.

- Ingrassia ridiculed the idea of a conspiracy, saying prosecutors never proved the three men never met to plot such a thing. "Boxes, mounds of paper, hundreds of documents, thousands of pieces of paper and what's been proven? Nothing."

- Predictably, he also hammered at the testimony of the prosecutions "whistleblower" Julie Grenzhauser-Montalvo, pointing out that she took the 5th on some questions, took papers out of City Hall without permission and gave them to a HUD investigator and hung her head in shame when confronted with her claim that her office was in earshot of Novesky's in 1997. In reality, it was across the hall.

- Ingrassia disparaged the testimony of another witness, a HUD official named Susan Horowitz. During the trial she testified that if the mayor was the landlord for a HUD loan recipient, he had an obligation to disclose that relationship to HUD. But when cross-examined by defense lawyers, she admitted that she said the opposite in grand jury testimony.

- Ingrassia ridiculed inconsistencies in the testimony of HUD witnesses, saying, "The right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. Frankly, I don't think that even in the office of Housing and Urban Development, they are aware of what would be required and what would not be required," Ingrassia said, referring to disclosure obligations of city officials.

- He observed that Guertin's name was barely mentioned during the trial, and many of those times, he was mentioned merely as someone who notarized documents.

- Pointedly, Rosenwasser interrupted Ingrassia several times during his closing argument to ask questions, going to the details of DeStefano's real estate transactions that are at the heart of the case. Lawyers for Novesky and DeStefano will deliver their closing arguments beginning at 1:45 p.m.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.