Annabi, Jereis Convictions Upheld; Sentencing Nov. 19

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A Manhattan federal judge has upheld the corruption convictions of former Yonkers City Council member Sandy Abbani and city GOP leader Zehy Jereis.
A Manhattan federal judge has upheld the corruption convictions of former Yonkers City Council member Sandy Abbani and city GOP leader Zehy Jereis. Photo Credit: Flickr user srqpix

YONKERS, N.Y. – A former Yonkers Councilwoman and the city's one-time Republican Party chairman will be sentenced this month after a federal judge upheld their corruption convictions.

Sandy Annabi and Zehy Jereis will likely face between 12 and 17 years in prison. They were convicted by a jury in March of multiple counts, including receiving corrupt payments, extortion and conspiracy.

The defense sought to have the convictions overturned, but U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon denied the request.

In a 40-page decision released Thursday, McMahon said the verdict was justified. 

“While this court expressed some skepticism about the strength of the Government’s evidence, I cannot say that no rational juror could adopt the Government’s arguments,” she wrote.

During trial, prosecutors said Jereis, the city’s GOP leader, paid Annabi nearly $200,000 to control her vote on the City Council.

That included approval of a pair of projects – the controversial Ridge Hill development and the Longfellow School project, prosecutors said. The defense argued that the gifts, which included money for a Rumsey Road apartment, were tokens of a failed romantic courtship.

McMahon said the evidence did not suggest any type of relationship other than political.

“Even the nature of the extravagant expenditures Jereis made on Annabi’s behalf suggest that their relationship was a political rather than a romantic one,” she said. “Jereis did not take Annabi on romantic getaways; there were no flowers and chocolates.”

The pair are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

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Oops, Rangel not Engel. I apologize for the error.

I find it interesting that Engel of NYC can get off with a slap on the wrist and Annabi faces a possible jail term. Where is the justice.