Rain: County Officials "Desperate" To Stop Probe
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain charged Wednesday that county officials are "desperate" to stop her investigation, and that's why they've gone to court to block her.
Rain made the charge in legal papers she filed with Judge Vito Caruso. St. Lawrence County administrator Karen St. Hilaire has asked Caruso to stop Rain from going ahead with her grand jury investigation of two issues.
Rain wants to investigate why county officials failed to file paperwork for $500,000 from state government to pay for two staff members in the district attorney's office - it's money the county has routinely asked for and gotten in the past.
Rain also wants to investigate the use of money seized from drug dealers to buy audio equipment - microphones and wiring - for the St. Lawrence County legislature's chambers. Rain contends that's illegal.
In asking Judge Caruso to stop Rain, St. Hilaire said Rain is going after county officials, including her, because they won't give Rain the office space she wants. County officials have said that, if there must be an investigation, a special prosecutor (a lawyer not affiliated with either Rain or the rest of the county's officials, often a district attorney from another county) should be named.
In her legal papers, Rain and chief assistant DA David Haggard call the office space accusation "a lie" and "a direct abuse of the confidence placed in her appointment as county administrator."
Rain calls the move from St. Hilaire ""nothing more than a desperate attempt to stall or stifle a legitimate Grand Jury investigation."
As a matter of law, Rain argues, St. Hilaire's request is too early because the investigation hasn't happened yet. She also says the judge has no authority in the case.
Judge Caruso, who is a state judge based in Schenectady, is expected to rule in the case in the next few days.
Friday, July 1, 2016, Watertown, NY
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