Disgraced commissioner speaks after facing judge - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Disgraced commissioner speaks after facing judge

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-She's gone from powerful politician to a disgraced defendant. Facing corruption charges, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty made her first court appearance Friday at the Federal Courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach.

McCarty's husband Kevin also faces charges and had his own court appearance Friday. Mary wiped away tears as Kevin entered a guilty plea.

At her own hearing, the former commissioner officially pleaded not guilty. She and her lawyer say she will change her plea at a later court appearance, which has yet to be set.

After both hearings, the McCarty's emerged from the Courthouse. Mary made a brief statement to reporters, but took no questions.

"As you can imagine this has been another very painful day for Kevin and me," said Mrs. McCarty. "This is course that I set out. And I have no one else to blame."

Husband Kevin declined comment. As the couple walked to their car, Mary appeared to fight tears. Kevin patted her on the arm.

Mary McCarty is accused of misusing her position as commissioner. Prosecutors say she voted on bond contracts that benefited her husband's company, steered business to her husband, and failed to disclose gifts from a company doing business with the county. Kevin faces charges of concealing the crime.

"It's totally a disclosure issue," said Mary's lawyer David Bogenschutz, downplaying the charges against his client. "In the old days it would be an ethics violation." Bogenschutz said while the former commissioner will plead guilty, she does not agree with the entire case outlined by prosecutors.

As for Mary's tears when Kevin entered his guilty plea, Bogenschutz said, "It's her husband. I think it would have taken Super Woman not to have teared up, not to have had some emotional reaction to that."

Both McCarty's posted bond. Kevin is due back in court in late March for sentencing. He faces up to three years in prison, although prosecutors are recommending one. Mary McCarty could get as much as 5 years.

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