Category: Archive

Hynes hits back at in vote fraud case

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

O’Hara recently lost an appeal in federal court against his conviction, a legal outcome that has resulted in his being barred from his law practice, not being able to vote in elections or stand for public office.
The case against O’Hara was taken by Hynes’s office and the conviction for voter fraud followed no fewer than three trials.
Hynes has been the object of severe criticism in newspapers and a top legal publication for his pursuit of O’Hara on the voting fraud charge.
O’Hara has argued that he has been the victim of the Brooklyn Democratic Party “machine” because he ran for office as an independent candidate and has run campaigns of others in opposition to the party’s choices in the borough.
Following a federal judge’s recent rejection of O’Hara’s appeal, an op-ed column by Carla Main in the New York Post, took issue with the grounds for the initial prosecution of O’Hara.
Main is an editor with the National Law Journal.
She wrote in the op-ed — headed “A Stench Grows In Brooklyn” — that Hynes’s office “had been happy to do the bidding of the machine” and had “dusted off an archaic statute last used to prosecute Susan B. Anthony for voting in 1876.”
In a subsequent letter to the editor of the Post, Hynes wrote that Main had “got it all wrong.”
“The stench,” Hynes wrote, “arises from the conduct of John K. O’Hara, who was convicted of seven felonies and was ordered to pay $9,192 in reparations to the New York City Campaign Finance Board for monies he improperly took.
“O’Hara was not convicted of election fraud because he did not vote from his permanent residence,” added Hynes in his letter to the Post. “He was convicted because two juries and two appellate courts found that he never resided at the location he claimed, although he voted five times using this sham address.
“The federal judge who reviewed the evidence found that it was ‘extremely powerful, bordering on the overwhelming,’ ” Hynes concluded.
In addition to the critical Post op-ed, Hynes also came under fire from a Daily News editorial, which described the charges against O’Hara as “trumped-up.”
The News compared Hynes to the obsessive Inspector Javert in Les Miserables and described the case against O’Hara as “ridiculous.”
The editorial — published before the decision by federal judge John Gleeson to back O’Hara conviction — went so far as to argue that O’Hara should have his law license returned, that Hynes, in turn, should have his law license suspended and that the district attorney had acted more like a persecutor than a prosecutor in the case.
Hynes has not replied to the News editorial and would not be doing so, a spokesman said.
Hynes ranks as one of the most prominent elected Irish Americans in New York State and was a leading advocate for imprisoned IRA man Joe Doherty during the 1980s and early 90s.
In a speech last week marking St. Patrick’s Day, Hynes spoke about the Great Hunger in Ireland and urged both the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Board of Regents to make teaching on the Famine “an integral part of our school curriculum.”
As an Irish American, said Hynes, “I believe very passionately that the story must be told about one of the worst catastrophes in modern European history: misidentified as the great famine; in reality, the great starvation of the Irish people from 1845 to 1850.”
The spokesman for Hynes said that beyond the letter to the New York Post, the district attorney did not want to make an additional public comments on the O’Hara case at this time.

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