Thursday, January 26, 2017



Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum arrives at court in Montreal, Thursday, Jan.26, 2017.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul ChiassonFormer Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum arrives at court in Montreal, Thursday, Jan.26, 2017.

    Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum was found guilty of eight of the 14 charges that were levelled against him Thursday afternoon in connection with two bribery schemes that saw roughly $60,000 extorted from developers seeking contracts.
The lengthy judgment read by the justice was interrupted 90 minutes in when Applebaum fainted, soon after her ruling appeared to indicate a negative outcome for the former mayor.
Judge Louise Provost of Quebec Court found Applebaum guilty of fraud against the government, breach of trust, conspiracy and corruption in municipal affairs. A stay of proceedings was ordered for four charges, and he was found not guilty on two others.
Sentencing arguments have been set for Feb. 15.
During the trial, prosecutor Nathalie Kleber said Applebaum could be sentenced to up to five years in prison if found guilty on all charges.
In her ruling, Provost said she found the testimony of the chief witness in the case, Applebaum's former political aide and chief of staff Hugo Tremblay, compelling and credible. The testimony of the other principal witnesses corroborated Tremblay's testimony, as well as each others, Provost said during the rendering of her judgment.
Applebaum was accused of extorting roughly $60,000 in bribes from business developers between 2006 and 2012 while he was borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
Applebaum was arrested in June 2013 by Quebec's anti-corruption police force — known as UPAC — putting an end to his seven-month tenure as interim-mayor of Montreal. He maintained his innocence throughout, and opted to be tried by judge alone.
During his trial in November, the prosecution charged that Applebaum extracted $35,000 in bribes from businessmen Anthony Keeler and Robert Stein in 2007 in exchange for ensuring that their Côte-des-Neiges real-estate development plan would go through.

Hugo Tremblay, who served as Applebaum's political aide and then chief of staff, testified that Applebaum coached him on how to ask for and collect money.
Tremblay's testimony was corroborated by Stein and Keeler, although they noted that they never discussed or dealt directly with Applebaum when it came to illicit affairs, only Tremblay.
Tremblay also testified he and Applebaum colluded to extort $25,000 from businessmen with the firm SOGEP in exchange for ensuring the company would win a multi-year, multi-million-dollar sports centre maintenance contract. His testimony was corroborated by executives at SOGEP, who also said they never dealt with Applebaum directly when it came to bribes. Applebaum never took the stand.
Applebaum's defence lawyer, Pierre Teasdale, argued that Tremblay was the only witness to directly link Applebaum to the crimes. He stressed that Tremblay and all the other witnesses were testifying in exchange for immunity for their admitted crimes, bringing the credibility of their testimony into doubt. He focussed on the lengthy relationship Tremblay forged with the police investigators working on the case via hundreds of text messages, phone calls and emails, arguing that Tremblay felt obliged to aid police in their quest to find his former boss guilty.
Applebaum should not be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on the testimony of a single unreliable witness, Teasdale argued.



Phyllis Carter said...

Phyllis Carter said...