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Mount Vernon Mayor Rejects Plea Deal In Criminal Case, Will Head to Trial

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas. Photo Credit: Attorney General's Office

Embattled Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas will have his day in court.

Thomas rejected the final plea deal in his criminal case on Friday and is scheduled to go to trial in July, according to lohud. At his latest court date, Thomas reportedly told Supreme Court Justice Barry Warhit that “I have faith in the system, your honor. I’m proceeding to trial.”

The decision came following two hours of conferences between the judge, prosecutors and lawyers representing the mayor. Thomas has vehemently denied any wrongdoing since allegations arose claiming he misappropriated campaign funds.

Jury selection is expected to begin on July 8, two weeks after the Democratic primary, which is expected to be loaded with potential mayoral candidates.

Earlier this year, Thomas was charged following an investigation which exposed that he allegedly stole $12,900 from his campaign committee and diverted more than $45,000 from his inaugural committee for personal use and failed to disclose that information to officials.

Thomas was charged with third-degree grand larceny and two counts of third-degree ordering a false instrument for filing, all felonies. He was also charged with two counts of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, misdemeanors.

Funds were allegedly used for personal expenses that included rent for his family residence, car loans, and a payment for three automobile insurance policies for two vehicles on which Thomas was listed as the owner, and another vehicle registered to one of Thomas’ relatives.

It is further alleged that the investigation determined that Thomas allegedly lied on his 2016 annual statement of financial disclosure with the City of Mount Vernon when he did not reveal that businesses controlled by an unnamed individual paid Thomas’ personal American Express bills.

According to the criminal complaint, prior to Thomas filing his 2017 annual statement of financial disclosure with the city, he learned of the existence of the Attorney General’s investigation, which is ongoing.

In total, Thomas is facing six felonies. This week, state prosecutors proposed a deal that would take jail time off the table in exchange for the mayor pleading guilty to a felony, being placed on probation and resigning from office.

“As mayor, I have broken up a crooked and corrupt political alliance against the people of Mount Vernon,” Thomas posted on Facebook earlier this year. “Standing on truth over a bunch of lies will always make you a target.

“Thank you to the people who continue to keep me and Mount Vernon in their prayers as we battle a legal and spiritual war for Mount Vernon’s bright future! I will keep the faith and keep our beloved city moving forward!"

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