Connecticut Post scribe Michael Mayko, the dean of federal court reporters and my brother in arms covering the dark side of political life (yeah, yeah, I know some of us went too dark) understands the nuances of witness testimony.
Willie Dow, the attorney representing Shelton developer James Botti who the government accuses of greasing Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (except Lauretti hasn’t been charged in the case) called a few witnesses to try to validate his defense that his client is the great exaggerator, not the venal slick portrayed by prosecutors. From Mayko’s piece:
DiMauro was the last witness called by Dow.
He testified that initially he opposed the project because he feared the impact it would have on leasing the adjacent Armstrong office park. DiMauro works for the building manager. However, he said he came around after several current and prospective tenants told him they were impressed with having the two restaurants and a hotel planned for the site so close.
Additionally, DiMauro testified that he spends every Christmas morning with Lauretti dining on baccala–a salted codfish that is a holiday tradition among Italians.
“Did you ever talk to Mayor Lauretti about James Botti at all?” asked Schechter on cross-examination.
“I did at one point,” he said. “I asked him because of all of what was taking place…All I wanted to know is if he was a partner with Botti or wasn’t.”
But DiMauro didn’t stop there. He said he also asked the mayor if he had any transactions with Botti, who DiMauro described as “young, energetic, rambunctious, a pusher, a driven person.”.
“The mayor said no,” DiMauro testified. “He emphatically said no.”
The case is now in the hands of the jury. Do any of them eat baccala? I like my baccala with San Marzano tomatoes and capers.
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