Sunday, June 9, 2013

Judge Rules on Tyrone Freeman’s Effort to Appeal Guilty Verdict in SEIU Corruption Trial

Here’s the latest news from a federal court in California, where in January a jury convicted SEIU’s Tyrone Freeman of 14 criminal counts of embezzlement, theft of labor union assets, mail fraud, filing false tax returns, and making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution.

After the verdict, Freeman’s gold-plated attorneys -- who are funded by an unnamed deep-pocketed supporter -- filed a motion to acquit Freeman on all 14 counts or, alternatively, to require a do-over of Freeman’s whole trial.

On May 30, a judge issued a 41-page ruling in response to Freeman’s motion for acquittal (see the full decision below). The bottom line? The judge upheld 11 of Freeman’s 14 guilty verdicts, and “vacated” three counts.

Freeman, who faced a maximum jail sentence of 180 years for the 14 counts, now faces a maximum penalty of 164 years… although he won’t get anything near that amount of time.

So… why did the judge “vacate” three of Freeman’s guilty verdicts?

The first one was vacated on the most technical of technicalities. The judge found that the grand jury charged Freeman with stealing money from SEIU Local 6434 to pay for his tropical wedding, when in fact Freeman had stolen the money from SEIU Local 434B!

For those who aren’t familiar with the background, these two unions are virtually identical -- Andy Stern appointed Freeman as the President of Local 434B, which later on changed its name to Local 6434.

Freeman’s attorneys didn’t even contest the facts of Freeman's criminal acts -- that Freeman used the union’s credit card to pay for his tropical wedding in Hawaii, where he married his Executive Assistant. 

In fact, during the trial, U.S. prosecutors presented mountains of evidence to show how Freeman billed thousands of dollars to the union’s low-income members including the newlywed couple’s one-week stay at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, a $600 bill from the poolside bar, the rental of a Hummer H3 SUV, and a 60-minute massage at the Marriott.

The other two “vacated” counts charged Freeman with under-reporting his income in his IRS tax returns. On May 30, the judge ruled that prosecutors did not introduce enough evidence to explain a specific gap in Freeman’s income that was reported on Freeman's W-2 form and his pay stubs.

What’s next?

The next step is sentencing… unless Freeman’s secretly funded lawyers are somehow able to pull a rabbit out of their hats.

Stay tuned!