NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors are worried that former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi will skip town before starting her six-year prison sentence and want her grounded.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon, prosecutors this week urged the judge to deny Annabi’s request to travel to Florida, noting that the fallen pol represents “a substantial flight risk” before she goes to federal prison in March for conspiracy and bribery.
“She has extensive ties to Jordan and, if she flees there, the government will likely be unable to compel her return,” prosecutors Jason Halperin and Perry Carbone wrote in a letter written Tuesday. Annabi’s family is from Jordan.
“The court permitted the defendant to remain free on bail after the sentencing so that she could get her affairs in order before she begins serving her prison term,” they wrote. “The court did not permit her to remain free on bail to engage in personal travel.”
Annabi, 42, a Democrat, and former Yonkers GOP boss Zehy Jereis, 41, were convicted of conspiracy, bribery and extortion March 29 after a five-week trial in federal court in Manhattan. Annabi was sentenced to six years in prison and Jereis to four on Nov. 18. Both are scheduled to report to federal prison on March 4.Prosecutors said Annabi and Jereis, her cousin and political mentor, collected $200,000 in bribes for Annabi’s council vote in favor of two projects she initially opposed — a housing development at the former Longfellow School and the $842 million Ridge Hill development.
Annabi used the money for student loans, down payments on a Mercedes-Benz, three homes and to pay utility bills. Prosecutors said she also bought a $3,800 Rolex watch and a first-class ticket to Jordan.
But Annabi’s lawyer, Edward Sapone, said his client simply wants a vacation before going to prison.
“In light of the six-year sentence the legal community has referred to as lenient, Ms. Annabi poses no risk of flight,” he said in an email. “Nonetheless, I respect Judge McMahon’s authority and decision.”
In September, McMahon let AnnabiÂ attend a family function in Hackensack, N.J., on Sept. 15.
Source: The Journal News