Acerbic sports radio personality Craig Carton stepped up his legal strategy this past Friday, when his attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the securities fraud count against Carton stemming from the explosive federal indictment that accuses him and co-defendant Michael Wright of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme.
“Mr. Carton never intended or defrauded anyone at any time,” read a statement to the Daily News from the law firm, Gottlieb & Janey, which is representing Carton.
Another motion filed by Carton’s legal team argues that the sports jock should not be tried jointly with Wright since the latter “intends to present evidence, including third-party witnesses, exculpating Mr. Wright and inculpating Mr. Carton.”
Last Sept. 6, Carton, the former co-host of WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” show with ex-Jets quarterback Boomer Esaison, was arrested at his Tribeca home and charged with three felony counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, wire fraud and the aforementioned securities fraud. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. The criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
Carton, 49, and Wright allegedly carried out a ticket resale business and are accused of soliciting investments from a hedge fund and other individuals in order to buy concert tickets and resell them in the secondary market. Instead, the indictment claims, the two men used the money to pay off personal debts — in Carton’s case, gambling debts — and to pay other individuals who had made earlier investments.
Craig Carton’s legal team filed an additional motion seeking the severance of his joint trial with co-defendant Michael Wright.
But Friday’s filing argues that the government “has failed to include specific factual allegations as to how Mr. Carton possessed the requisite intent” to commit securities fraud when Carton entered into an agreement with a hedge fund in Dec. 2016 to secure financing for the purchase of concert tickets. Carton’s lawyers present case law to support their argument.
“The Indictment is devoid of any allegations that Mr. Carton possessed ‘culpable intent’ at the time the Hedge Fund established the loan facility for approximately $4.6 million in the ticket resale business on December 8, 2016,” reads the court document. “The Government has failed to put forth any allegation that Mr. Carton had ‘intent to deceive’ at the time the Hedge Fund established the loan agreement.”
Carton’s lawyers state in the motion that Carton has been “unfairly turned into a pariah” because of prosecutors’ “omission of an essential element of the crime.”
“A decade building good-will as a highly respected community leader, child advocate and charity minded citizen was completely discarded with an obnoxious disregard,” reads the filing. “When the Government brings a criminal prosecution, as here, it should approach that responsibility deliberately and soberly.”
Co-defendant Michael Wright.
(Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)
In the motion for severance, Carton’s attorneys aim to protect their client’s rights under the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the accused the right to a fair trial in criminal prosecutions. Carton’s legal team argues that Wright will become “in effect, a second prosecutor” when Wright presents evidence against Carton.
“The Supreme Court has stated that severance is appropriate where ‘there is serious risk that a joint trial would compromise a specific trial right of one of the defendants, or prevent the jury from making a reliable judgment about guilt or innocence,'” the court papers say.
Carton, a father of four, has a new show with SportsGrid that was announced back in March. Carton would face up to 45 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts.
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