MANHATTAN (CN) - After lawyers finished summations Tuesday morning, a jury began weighing whether Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. took $175,000 from a hospital executive for 5 years of a no-show "consulting" job, in exchange for political favors.
Before being elected to the Assembly in 2003, Boyland worked for a hospital owned by MediSys, the company from which he is accused of taking bribes.
As a common worker, Boyland had to clock his hours, but prosecutors say his position morphed into a no-show job when he was elected.
Boyland made $35,000 a year on consulting fees, in addition to the $79,000 he made as an assemblyman, prosecutors said.
In a Sept. 16, 2003 email, David Rosen told MediSys Chief Financial Officer Mounir Doss, "Please get [Boyland] off the payroll so he doesn't have to punch in, and create a vendor check."
Prosecutors displayed follow-up emails showing Rosen checking the status of the "payroll situation."
Boyland was made a consultant for Urban Strategies community affairs division on April 27, 2004, an email shows.
Prosecutors said the only emails between Rosen and Boyland after that show them communicating "pretty much exclusively" about upcoming votes in Albany.
But Urban Strategies community affair director Phoebe Layne testified at trial that she never saw or spoke to him.
Neither did Joan Sclafani, former associate administrator at its affiliated Brookdale Hospital; Ole Pederseon, Brookdale's vice president of public affairs; nor Bruce Flanz, chief operating officer of MediSys, prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys for Boyland said the assemblyman, who comes from a politically connected family, was a "brand name" who helped the hospital with his affiliation alone.
Boyland's sister, former Brooklyn Councilwoman Tracy Boyland, helped MediSys obtain grants. Defendant Boyland inherited the office from his father, William Boyland Sr. The defendant's mother, Ruby, worked for Jamaica Hospital.
The position was "all about good will ... from a prominent family," defense attorney Richard Rosenberg said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Harrington scoffed at that.
"You don't generate good will in the community by secretly paying people for doing nothing," he said.
Harrington claimed Boyland Jr. made false statements to FBI agent David Cox.
Boyland originally said that he worked for Brookdale for only two years after he was elected, though he actually worked there between 2003 and 2008. He falsely told the agent that he never was a consultant for the hospital, and never set up meetings with local politicians and Department of Health officials for the hospital, prosecutors said.
But Rosenberg said Boyland's financial records showed he was honest.
"Where's the secrecy? Where's the under the table payoff?" Rosenberg asked.
Rosenberg described the evidence against Boyland as "speculation, guesswork and cynicism," because it did not reveal Boyland's state of mind.
But Harrington compared that argument to an drunken teenager telling his parents that the evidence of his drinking was only circumstantial.
"That's not speculation. That's not guesswork. That's the only reasonable inference," Harrington said.
If convicted, Boyland could face up to 20 years in prison.