According to one of Terry Kilrea’s supporters, members of Larry O’Brien’s campaign team told him in early August 2006 that Kilrea would soon be accepting a “federal offer” in exchange for dropping out of the 2006 mayoral campaign.
In testimony for the mayor’s trial that could still be ruled inadmissible by Judge Douglas Cunningham, John Light claims that Conservative fundraiser Thom Bennett had phoned to recruit him to be O’Brien’s campaign manager in early August 2006.
Light responded by saying that he was committed to Kilrea.
In court yesterday, Light said that Bennett then covered the phone for 30 seconds, before informing him that Kilrea would be dropping out of the race soon.
Light said the call came from Bennett’s office with O’Brien and political adviser Greg Strong in the room.
Light said that Strong told him that Conservative pollster Dimitri Pantazopoulos was working on an offer that Kilrea would likely accept, during a followup phone call from Strong’s car later that day.
When Strong testified, he said the call was made from Bennett’s kitchen, and O’Brien was not present.
Strong said there was never any mention of an offer to Kilrea during those phone calls.
Bennett will give his testimony today.
Testimony from Light, Strong and Bennett could be deemed hearsay and dismissed as inadmissible.
Judge Cunningham will rule on its value today.
Even though there may not have been a real effort to get Kilrea an appointment, Crown attorney Scott Hutchison said the fact that the conversations took place proves that the offer was still alive after the July 12 meeting.
O’Brien’s defence lawyer Michael Edelson argued that in order for the testimony to be valid, the Crown has to show a direct link to O’Brien, which cannot be done in this case.