Mayor Bill de Blasio held a short press conference this afternoon to defend himself against allegations made by a witness in the Norman Seabrook corruption trial. Speaking outside the Young Israel of Avenue K synagogue in Midwood de Blasio repeatedly called that witness a liar and a convicted felon. He defended his actions as proper and pointed to the investigations by the U.S. Attorney, which is also prosecuting Seabrook and had Jona Rechnitz testify, and the Manhattan District Attorney which concluded without any criminal charges against de Blasio or his staff.
de Blasio bristled at some of the press questions, rejecting the notion that he provided special treatment for Rechnitz and saying that he responds to questions and requests from all who approach him, including “people with no money and no power.” He rejected a request to reveal details of every meeting he had with Rechnitz.
As de Blasio notes, the same office prosecuting Seabrook, the U.S> Attorney for the Southern District of New York, investigated de Blasio and did not bring any charges against him. The current testimony, while capturing great public attention, has presumably been long known to the U.S. Attorney and is therefor highly unlikely to produce legal trouble for de Blasio. The trial testimony has rapidly developed into a political problem for de Blasio, however, and he faces a very real political issue. With ten days until the election his smooth glide into reelection has hit turbulence.
Here is de Blasio’s full press conference: