Jury selection begins in Troy ballot fraud re-trial | News
TROY- Jury selection for the re-trial of former City Councilman Michael LoPorto began Monday. He's accused of possessing forged absentee ballots in a 2009 primary election.
Joking around outside the courtroom Monday, former City Councilman Michael LoPorto didn't miss an opportunity to throw a dart at the special prosecutor, as jury selection began the second time around.
"We're hoping it will be done in two weeks. Let's hope Mr. Smith doesn't drag his feet like he usually does," LoPorto said.
His first trial went nine weeks with 63 witnesses; the jury deadlocking on ballot fraud charges against LoPorto and co-defendant, Rensselaer County Elections Commissioner Edward McDonough. A mistrial was declared.
"I expect if all goes well, we'll be done in two weeks," said Special Prosecutor Trey Smith.
Smith said he'll call only five voters to testify, instead of dozens who took the stand last time. He'll attempt to prove again that LoPorto participated in a Democratic plot to steal the 2009 Working Family Party's primary.
"In this case, because of the particular legal issues, because I don't have to prove forgeries in this case but rather possession of forgeries that were committed by others, I don't need all those voter witnesses," Smith said.
Former City Clerk William McInerney has already pleaded guilty in the case, as well as former City Councilman John Brown. No retrial date has been set for McDonough.
LoPorto's new attorney said the circumstantial evidence against him is thin.
"I gotta think that one of the things that people will be really stunned about in this trial, when you separate it, how absolutely sparse and really non-existent the evidence is with relation to Mike," Coleman said.
Coleman told NewsChannel 13 that the number of charges against LoPorto will be reduced from 29 to 22.
About 100 prospective jurors remain for the re-trial. Those 100 people will come back Tuesday for questioning.