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NYC Mayor Bloomberg takes stand in larceny trial

Oct 3, 2011, 7:47 a.m.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the stand on Monday in the trial of a Republican political consultant charged with stealing more than $1 million from the mayor during his 2009 re-election campaign.

Bloomberg testified that he donated $1.2 million to the Independence Party for a ballot-security operation on Election Day 2009 promised to him by John Haggerty. Prosecutors have accused Haggerty of selling Bloomberg the operation, but spending the mayor's money on a house instead.

Under questioning from the defense, Bloomberg said he did not speak personally to Haggerty, who made the arrangements with the mayor's staff.

"We gave it with a purpose," Bloomberg testified. "The purpose was to provide ballot security. It was not a general donation."

Bloomberg said he paid Haggerty for similar operations in his 2001 and 2005 mayoral campaigns.

"We did the same thing three times in a row. I'm told that's traditionally what candidates do."

Haggerty is charged with grand larceny, money laundering and falsifying business records. The larceny charge carries a possible term of 25 years in prison.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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