On Sept. 6, in the perjury trial of expelled president of the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, Ron Carey, the defense apparently got a big boost. Convicted felon William W. Hamilton, IBT’s ex-political director, testified that he had never told Carey that a series of political contributions were linked to a money-laundering scheme to generate funds for Carey’s 1996 campaign. Currently serving a three-year prison sentence after his Nov. 1999 conviction on charges that he embezzled IBT funds in the scandal and then lied about, Hamilton was called by the prosecution. But his testimony appeared to support the defense’s contention that Carey was unaware that the donations were linked to his campaign. He reportedly stated he was testifying without a grant of immunity or any other deal from the prosecution.
Hamilton, who did not take the stand in his own trial, testified that he had only discussed the contributions with Carey twice and had not mentioned their links to the campaign. In one conversation at an Ind. IBT dinner honoring Carey just before the election, Carey asked why IBT’s political arm was spending so much money out of the general treasury, Hamilton testified. Hamilton said he replied that the political spending was “appropriate” and that it was necessary because IBT’s political action fund had been exhausted. Carey’s only reply was to acknowledge it briefly, Hamilton suggested. Similarly, in the only other conversation on the matter, Hamilton said Carey had made a noncommittal reply to a telephone call following up on a request for funds. Thus, it fell to the prosecution, specifically Asst. U.S. Atty. Andrew Dember, to seek to undercut the credibility of its own witness.
Hamilton also said Carey campaign manager Jere Nash, who has pled guilty in the scandal, had told him earlier that Carey would be informed of the scheme, but that nothing Carey said to him suggested that was true. According to a courtroom observer, Hamilton testified that Nash pitched the scheme to Hamilton. Hamilton also allegedly stated under oath that he discussed Nash’s idea with ex-IBT general counsel Judith A. Scott. Hamilton allegedly testified that Scott approved of the scheme. Scott is now general counsel for the Serv. Employees Int’l Union and a member of the James & Hoffman law firm.
Before Hamilton, another prosecution witness, Carey’s secretary Monie Simpkins testified against her old boss yesterday–but still insisted he knew about the scheme. She told the jury that Carey had signed off on the contributions to outside groups that then helped funnel money back into his campaign.
As the fund-raising fiasco unraveled, she realized she was in serious trouble and began cooperating with investigators. Simpkins, now a Va. school teacher, choked up with tears as she told the jury she worked as Carey’s secretary until Oct. 1997, when she went on disability for “depression caused by stress.”
Carey’s trial in Manhattan, which began Aug. 28, was nearing its halfway point before the World Trade Ctr. attack. [BNA 9/7/01; N.Y. Post; Daily News 9/6/01]