From The Politicker:
This afternoon, just as comptroller and likely 2013 mayoral candidate John Liu appeared alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference discussing the post-Sandy state of the city’s finances, legal arguments got underway this afternoon in the trial of his supporter Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan and his young campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou, who are being accused of participating in a conspiracy to direct illegal contributions to Mr. Liu’s war chest. In the courtroom today, Judge Richard Sullivan rejected four pre-trial motions requested by Mr. Pan and Ms. Hou’s attorneys and ordered the trial to begin as scheduled February 4.
The first motion argued before the court this afternoon was presented by Mr. Pan’s lawyer, Irwin Rockman. He said the case against his client should be dismissed entirely due to “outrageous government conduct,” namely that FBI agents continued their undercover investigation of Mr. Pan though he said they should have known “Mr. Pan had no interest in engaging in a violation of campaign finance law.” He based this argument on the claim wiretap recordings indicate Mr. Pan repeatedly told an undercover agent who posed as a Houston businessman eager to have funds in excess of the maximum allowed amount funneled to Mr. Liu through a system of straw donors about Mr. Liu’s campaign “self-imposed limit of $800″ on contributions. Mr. Rockman also said his client had been “terrorized” by law enforcement agents who subjected him to an “ominous vague threat” by indicating they knew the whereabouts of his wife and children. The lawyer said this was especially traumatizing to Mr. Pan because he spent his “formative years” in the “totalitarian regime” of the People’s Republic of China.
Judge Sullivan indicated Mr. Rockman’s motion had no legal precedent and said he felt like he was being asked to rule based on “squishy stuff in the pit of my belly” rather than the rule of law.
“This is a court of law, not a psychiatrist’s couch,” the judge said.
Unsurprisingly given his reaction to the argument, Judge Sullivan ended up rejecting the motion and siding with the prosecution’s contention the issues raised by Mr. Rockman did not constitute a violation of due process.