Queens Councilman Ruben Wills, who is facing fraud and larceny charges in connection with a nonprofit he founded, wants Attorney General Eric Schneiderman removed from the case in favor of a special prosecutor.
In a motion filed Tuesday, Mr. Wills’ attorney argues that Mr. Schneiderman is prejudiced against the councilman and that there is “evidence of political motivation and retribution of Eric Schneiderman toward Mr. Ruben Wills.”
Mr. Wills was charged in May by Mr. Schneiderman in connection with a nonprofit, New York 4 Life, founded by the councilman in 2006, four years before he won election to the council. Among a dozen counts, Mr. Wills was charged with scheming to defraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records, including allegedly falsifying documents involving the nonprofit and an $11,500 check.
In 2008, Mr. Wills received $33,000 for the charity in discretionary funding from Queens State Sen. Shirley Huntley, for whom Mr. Wills had served as chief of staff. Ms. Huntley herself was sentenced in a separate nonprofit corruption scandal in May 2013.
In the court papers, Mr. Wills’ attorney, Steve Zissou, argues that Mr. Wills was targeted by Mr. Schneiderman after Ms. Huntley had sought to provide evidence to the FBI against the attorney general himself. (In a 2013 court filing detailing useful evidence Ms. Huntley had provided to federal authorities, prosecutors did not mention any evidence from her against Mr. Schneiderman.)