City attorney says Fagen is removed from the council.
Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen will appeal his conviction after a jury on Tuesday found him guilty
on charges that he illegally collected unemployment benefits.
Marc Gann of Mineola, Fagen’s attorney, said that he would appeal his client’s conviction on charges of petit larceny and 18 counts of offering a false instrument for filing, after the jury deliberated for a week. Gann told Newsday
"It was an unusually long deliberation. In hindsight, it hurt."
The jury did not reach a verdict on 20 other counts of offering a false instrument and the top count of grand larceny. Fagen, 56, faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Judge Meryl Berkowitz will sentence the councilman on April 8.
Corey Klein, the City of Long Beach’s attorney, said that Fagen’s conviction means he is removed from the council
. A Democrat, Fagen was elected in November 2009 and his term was set to expire in November. The council will select a replacement to serve the remainder of Fagen’s term, according to Newsday.
About Tuesday’s verdict, City Council President Scott Mandel said in a statement: "We asked Mr. Fagen to step aside last year
. With this distraction now removed, our focus must continue to be solely on the city's recovery."
Fagen did not return a request for comment and he was absent from Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Throughout the two-week trial
, Gann said that Fagen was a part-time employee of the city who was eligible for unemployment benefits but was set up by his political foes to appear as though he held a full-time position. Prosecutors Marshal Trager and William Jorgensen argued that Fagen was a full-time employee who knowingly defrauded the unemployment system of $15,000 in benefits.
Become a blogger today!
Get started now