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New York

Democrat Councilman Jokes About His Felony Drug Conviction

Kevin McGrath, who currently sits on the Troy City Council, testified yesterday at the upstate New York voter fraud trial, that he was concerned about running for public office because of his history of substance abuse, and ‘the fact that he is a convicted felon’.

These days it seems, McGrath is far less concerned about public perception, at one point cracking a joke about his lack of drug-peddling business savvy – a comment that forced him to apologize to the judge.

During his testimony, McGrath stated that he was not convicted of distributing  220 lbs. of pot, but rather, he was involved with less than 10 lbs, or 100 kg.  Which led him to deadpan this joke – “I wasn’t too good. Didn’t make much of a profit.”  The comment prompted an apology for Judge Pulver.  Apparently, making light of a serious crime doesn’t sit well in Pulver’s courtroom.

McGrath’s joke prompted a tweet from the former Mayor of Troy, Harry Tutunjian, who is attending the trial as an observer.

So now a current city councilman can joke about not having made a profit selling drugs? He plead guilty to a federal felony #ballotfraud — Harry4Troy (@Harry4Troy)

Indeed, McGrath did plead guilty to a federal felony.  On a blog called Talespin, Record reporter Jim Franco explains:

Well, now we know about the mysterious arrests that have been the subject of a sporadic, if not intense, whisper campaign about Kevin McGrath, D-District 1.

On the stand yesterday, McGrath said he was convicted on federal charges of conspiring to sell pot some 14 years ago. Initially it was said in court there was 100 kilograms involved but today he said it was more like 10 pounds. He also had a criminal mischief conviction thrown in and two drinking related convictions.

Of course, there are those, on both sides of the aisle, who are asking the rhetorical question of how is he fit he is fit to serve on the Council?

It should be noted that McGrath wasn’t simply making a joke about something that happened 14 years ago. On January 31st, Thomas Dickinson testified that “he used to drink and drive and do drugs with McGrath” less than two years ago.

Of course, this entire trial has some wondering how exactly McGrath was able to avoid being charged with new felonies, like his counterparts Ed McDonough and Michael LoPorto, who face a combined one hundred-plus charges in the voter fraud scandal.  In a June op-ed, former Democrat Party Chairman, Frank LaPosta, wrote:

Troy City Councilman Kevin McGrath, D-District 1, got the deal of a lifetime revealed in a recently disclosed cooperation agreement with the special prosecutor in the Troy voter fraud investigation. This agreement allows McGrath to avoid criminal prosecution for any wrongdoing on his part in the voter fraud scandal…
The people of District 1 and the city of Troy have a right to know why McGrath was given such favorable treatment to avoid criminal prosecution for acts he may have committed as part of the voter fraud scandal. These acts are very similar to what two individuals did who were in turn indicted by the same grand jury for multiple felony counts of alleged fraud and forgery. McGrath himself benefitted from the voter fraud in 2009 which allowed him to secure the Working Families party line on the ballot.

Details of the immunity agreement came out during yesterday’s testimony when McGrath admitted on the stand that he has gotten favorable treatment, meaning no prison time, for several alleged crimes, including a felony drug conviction.

It should be noted that LaPosta, who was Chairman at the time of the voter fraud scandal, faced no investigation and has maintained that all of this happened on his watch, but unbeknownst to him.  One tends to believe his story, as LaPosta had to switch parties over the scandal, eventually running against – and losing – to Kevin McGrath in the Council race.  After the fraud, LaPosta was forced out by his own party, for the crime of speaking out against fellow Democrats who had been involved in the voter fraud.

In regards to the favorable agreement which McGrath was privy to, there may be some holes…

The Record reports this morning:

Just as things got underway Wednesday in the trial of two Democrats suspected of being involved in the 2009 Working Families Party ballot fraud scheme, attorney Brian Premo dropped a small bit of information that sent the court into recess.

Premo began reading off several voter registration cards and absentee ballot applications to Councilman Kevin McGrath, D-District 1, during his cross-examination that were collected by McGrath for the several primaries he was involved in on different party lines. By the end of it, he asked what was done with them and McGrath responded he had given them to Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough, Premo’s client who along with former Councilman Michael LoPorto stands charged with more than 100 felonies…

“I believe there are approximately 20 of those applications with documentation of voter registration forms that are forgeries,” Premo said. “There are several that are not even close and 20 that are questionable.”

It was then asked whether McGrath’s cooperation agreement with Trey Smith, the special prosecutor, covers the Independence and the Conservative parties and or if it is constricted to just the Working Families Party.

If the agreement only pertains to the WFP, and Premo is able to prove that McGrath’s forgery attempts crossed into the Independent and Conservative lines, then he may yet face charges.

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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