The attorney representing longtime Hoboken politico Frank Raia in a high profile vote-by-mail fraud case has made a number of requests of the federal government in a pre-trial motion filing, which includes seeking the names of government informants.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Defendant believes that various informants were used by the government in conducting its investigation, and that some of these persons are not merely informants, but witnesses. With respect to each informant, defendant requests disclosure of his or her name and last known address so that a request for an interview can be made,” Raia’s attorney, Alan Zegas, wrote in a February 19th omnibus motion.
“Such disclosure is vital to the protection of defendant’s rights at trial. This is particularly so here because the informants involved may be critical witnesses to certain events alleged by the government to be criminal.”
Zegas further argues that “disclosure is mandated” since it is likely that the informants would provide relevant testimony for the defense.
In the pretrial filing, Zegas makes a total of 11 requests from the court, which also includes asking to sever Dio Braxton from the case and offering him immunity to testify on Raia’s behalf.
“Braxton stated that no payments were made to any person in exchange for their vote. He also stated that persons who were paid worked for the campaign. As a co-defendant, Braxton has the right to refuse to testify under the Fifth Amendment,” Zegas explained.
“If that right is asserted, defendant will be deprived of Braxton’s exonerating testimony. Under the circumstances, this Court should sever the defendants and immunize Braxton so that he may testify on behalf of defendant.”
Raia, a former Hoboken mayoral and council candidate, and Braxton were indicted on Halloween last year, being accused of running a vote-by-mail scheme in connection to the 2013 municipal elections.
They have both pleaded not guilty and were released on $100,000 bonds.
Lizaida Camis, 55, of Hoboken, was the first person who pleaded guilty to VBM fraud back in November.
Zegas says in the filing that he “has reason to believe” that Camis is one of the government’s cooperating witnesses and has testified in front of a grand jury, but does not elaborate on what that reason is.
Las month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted a fourth Hoboken resident for vote-by-mail fraud: William Rojas, 68. However, the charges against him pertain to the 2015 city council races.
In that election, Raia was not linked to any particular slate or candidate (in 2013 he unsuccessfully ran for councilman-at-large).
Hoboken blog Grafix Avenger first made mention of the filing earlier today.
Zegas did not return inquiries seeking further comment on Wednesday.