Federal prosecutors rested their case Monday against Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh, whose defense attorneys began calling witnesses of their own in the ex-correction lieutenant’s theft and fraud trial.
After the prosecution rested, the defense asked Judge Arthur Spatt to acquit Walsh of the charges, arguing that prosecutors did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but Spatt dismissed the motion.
“I will let the jury decide this case,” Spatt said as the trial entered its third week at Central Islip federal court.
Federal prosecutors charged Walsh with theft and wire fraud for allegedly being paid $200,000 for hours when he was golfing, gambling and politicking between 2011 and 2014. Attorneys for Walsh, who retired shortly before the trial began so he could collect his pension, have argued that he was free to come and go as he pleased and make up the hours later.
Brian Baisley, the lieutenant investigator who’s the commander of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s internal affairs unit, was the first witness to take the stand for the defense. He testified that the U.S. Secret Service analyzed Walsh’s office computer hard drive.
“Is it a fair statement that nothing criminal was found on Ed Walsh’s hard drive?” Walsh’s defense attorney, Leonard Lato, asked Baisley, who replied, “no.” Baisley clarified that nothing criminal was found with respect to the charges for which Walsh is on trial.
Lato then questioned Baisely about whether he, at the direction of Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, told two correction officers who were subpoenaed to testify for Walsh’s defense, that they would not be paid for their time at court. Under cross-examination by the prosecution, Baisley clarified that it was a union issue that was researched by the county and the officers were later told that they would be paid when they take the stand. Baisley added that he was unaware that one of the officers was secretly recording audio of the conversation about the pay issue, which Baisley and prosecutors suggested could lead to charges.
Also testifying were several correction officers, the correction officers’ union president, a former court officer supervisor who dealt with Walsh, and the manager of the Hampton Hills Golf Course, the country club three minutes from Suffolk jail. The manager testified that the course times may not have been accurate on receipts of Walsh’s golf cart rentals—records prosecutors compared to Walsh’s time sheets to show he was golfing on county time. But, under cross-examination, prosecutors had the manager show in 10 instances that when Walsh signed in at the golf course, his golf cart rental receipt was entered with the correct time.
The defense is expected to rest their case Tuesday. Closing arguments will then follow on Wednesday or Thursday before the judge gives the jury their instructions on how to deliberate which he’s expected to do by the end of the week.