New York jury clears Carey

New York jury clears Carey

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

Former Teamsters President Ron Carey was acquitted last week of perjury and other charges by a federal jury in New York City. Carey had been accused of lying about illegal diversion of union funds to his 1996 re-election campaign.

Carey was charged after federal investigators claimed he told them he did not know about the scheme. Had he been convicted, Carey could have drawn a sentence of up to five years in prison on each of seven counts.

Prosecutors charged the 1.4 million-member union illegally moved $885,000 to political action committees, which then arranged for wealthy persons to donate to the Carey campaign.

Carey’s election to the union presidency in 1996 was thrown out after the scheme was uncovered. James P. Hoffa was elected president in a new election in 1999.

One juror told reporters the jury concluded a Carey aide lied when she testified Carey knew about the scheme. Despite prosecutors’ objections, federal Judge Robert Carter allowed jurors to hear about Carey’s cost-cutting measures at the union, which included eliminating private jets and limousines.

“We are relieved at the result,” said defense attorney Reid Weingarten, “because when the U.S. government comes at you with guns blazing, a lot can happen.”

Carey said he may return to the labor movement. “It’s been in my blood for 40 years,” he said. “I need to really think about that. Obviously, I would want to sit back and shake off what has been a tragic part of my life.”

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