A Republican operative has pleaded not guilty to charges he exploited his political reputation to swindle $1.1 million from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
John Haggerty was enlisted to help guard against fraud during last fall's election. Manhattan prosecutors claim that, instead, he bought a house.
Defense attorney Raymond Castello says Haggerty spent hundreds of hours doing the job he was paid to do.
Prosecutors say Haggerty duped Bloomberg and his political advisers into giving the money to the state Independence Party to help with ballot security during the mayor's campaign for a third term.
District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. says Haggerty laundered the money and used it for personal expenses after the election.