Judge denies attempts to throw out evidence in Velella case
Bronx State Senator Guy Velella is accused of taking bribes and then handing out lucrative state projects to contractors who paid him. Friday, attempts by Velella's defense team to have the case thrown out were denied. Co-defendants in this case include Velella's father and three other Bronx men. The day's decision referred to various motions. In one, the defense asked the court to completely throw out the indictment, arguing the Manhattan district attorney lacks jurisdiction to prosecute activities taking place in the Bronx. Judge Joan Sudolnik disagreed with that, saying some of the alleged criminal activity is related to state agencies based in Manhattan.Also at issue were the wiretaps ordered by the district attorney's office. The defense argued evidence was gathered illegally from the Velella's Bronx law office. The judge denied the motion.A majority of the defense's other attempts to suppress evidence were also denied.The trial is expected to begin in the winter or early spring. Those details will be worked out in a planning hearing scheduled for October 9. If convicted, Velella faces up to 15 years in prison.