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Rain investigation stays halted awaiting judge’s decision

First published: July 30, 2014 at 12:30 am
Last modified: July 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

CANTON — St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary E. Rain opted to abide by a judge’s order to stop investigating county officials pending a decision on whether to name a special prosecutor due to impropriety and conflicts of interest.

Ms. Rain had been issued an order signed by Fourth Judicial District Administrative Judge Vito C. Caruso on July 15 barring her from convening a grand jury to investigate why the county failed to apply for a five-year grant totaling $500,000 that has paid for two victim advocate positions in the district attorney’s office. She also contends that approximately $12,000 in forfeiture funds was used illegally.

Grand jury subpoenas were issued to five county officials, including County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire and County Attorney Michael C. Crowe, for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, seeking 10 years of records related to asset forfeiture, to include emails, bank statements and other transactions.

Ms. Rain on Monday, in an emailed response to a letter from attorney Michael A. Arcuri of Syracuse law firm Hancock Estabrook, who represents the county in the investigation, said county employees subpoenaed “need not provide the requested documents for the above subpoena...

“Should the court lift the stay and order the documents turned over to the grand jury, I will provide the county officials with a new date for the production of the documents to the grand jury,” Ms. Rain wrote in her email to Mr. Arcuri.

In her written response to the judge’s signed order July 23, Ms. Rain said because the county’s application to seek a special prosecutor is “improper and premature” and “for lack of standing” Judge Caruso should deny the request in its entirety.

Ms. Rain said Tuesday that she was awaiting Judge Caruso’s decision and “will abide by it when it [is] made.”

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