Perez Defense: Issue Resolved; No Mistrial

The Hartford Courant

Defense attorney Hubert Santos said this morning he is no longer considering withdrawing from the case involving Mayor Eddie A. Perez, nor will he seek a mistrial.

Santos said the issue concerning a statement he made to the lead investigator has been resolved.

On Tuesday, Santos said he was unknowingly tape-recorded by Inspector Michael Sullivan and made a statement on the tape that might implicate him in the charge of fabricating evidence facing the mayor. As a result, he said he'd either have to withdraw and request a mistrial, or get on the witness stand and testify if Sullivan talks about the taped conversation. Sullivan is expected to testify Thursday.

On Tuesday, Santos told Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey that he sent documents to Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane's office in July 2007, at Kane's request. Included was the bill for $20,000 that city contractor Carlos Costa gave the mayor on Feb. 28, 2007, nearly two years after Costa said he did an estimated $40,000 worth of remodeling work on the mayor's house.

Santos said the documents were sent with no cover letter, and that Sullivan called him a day or two later to ask him about some of the contents.

Santos said that when the inspector inquired about the scope of the bill, Santos said he replied that the bill "represented everything that was done'' at the mayor's house.

Since the state contends the bill was a hastily prepared document that grossly underestimated Costa's work, Santos said he's concerned the prosecution could try to implicate him in the alleged fabrication of evidence, which is one of the felony charges lodged against the mayor.

Santos said the conversation with Sullivan occurred early in the defense investigation of the charges, and that Santos wasn't aware of the details and the context surrounding the bill. He said he wasn't authorized to make such a statement.

Prosecutor Michael Gailor told the judge that the state does regard Santos' statement as "an admission by counsel on behalf of a client.''

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