Mayor Warren’s criminal case and reelection campaign

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: October 06, 2020 06:19 PM
Created: October 06, 2020 04:32 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is back to work after her arraignment on felony fraud charges.

Warren is accused of knowingly using an illegal PAC to bolster campaign finances during her last run for reelection but her attorney says she is still planning to run for a third term.


“It's no secret that my client is running for office next year so we would like the most expedient trial as possible so she can maintain her good name,” Joe Damelio said on Friday while maintaining Mayor Warren is innocent of the scheme to defraud and violation of election law charges against her.  

That means Mayor Warren will have to campaign, fundraise and get signatures to even get back on the ballot while her legal case is still underway.

In the City of Rochester, the June democratic primary will likely determine the next Mayor because of party enrollment, so the timing of the criminal case couldn’t be worse according to political science expert Timothy Kneeland.

Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC): "How do you fundraise with this hanging over your head, especially when you're accused of mishandling the money that you're asking people for?"

Tim Kneeland: "You stick to the script, 'This is a political attempt to smear an incumbent by political enemies both inside and outside the Democratic Party' … You keep up a sense of confidence."

Jennifer Lewke: "The judge said during the arraignment yesterday that the soonest he’d be available to hear a trial would be May, by then petitions would be due, everybody would know who's on the ballot and basically, this would be leading right up to primary day."

Tim Kneeland: "Which is really bad news, one way or the other both the voters and Mayor Warren would prefer this thing be resolved in some way or another."

Jennifer Lewke: "Theoretically, it could be resolved before then if the Mayor reached some sort of plea deal with the District Attorney’s office?"

Timothy Kneeland: "The problem is, with somebody who has now gotten in trouble with veracity with the voters, that admission makes a mockery of everything she said up until now and I think that an admission of guilt, therefore, would make it really hard for her to succeed in the primary."

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