2 New Haven officials plead guilty to bribes

Two New Haven trustees plead guilty to corruption charges after allegedly demanding and taking bribes.

Now as part of their deal, they are promising to cooperate with the feds' broader Macomb County investigation. It is not clear how much these guys can cooperate.

They are two of the smaller fries of the five elected New Haven officials who have been charged with selling their votes for contracts to the waste hauler formally known as Rizzo, but they are hoping they can stay out of jail.

Monday was the first time that people who have been charged in this case went to court and pleaded guilty.

The first to do so, was Christopher Craigmiles, he says he accepted $5,000 in return for his vote for a contract for the trash hauler Rizzo. That contract never went through but he said he would have voted for it if he could have and took money to do so. He is facing 18 to 24 months in prison. If his cooperation is substantial, that time could be reduced.

There is also Brett Harris, he was a long-time new haven trusty. not re-elected but before he lost his seat, he took cash on four occasions in return for the promise to vote for contracts for Rizzo.

Both are two of the smaller public officials to be charged. New Haven is a small town in Macomb County but they're the first ones in this wide ranging corruption investigation.

Both could do less time and they are hoping to do less time. Harris' defense attorney Steven Fishman declined comment, but Craigmiles' attorney David Knott, said that his client had just got his start in public service, he was a good man who made a terrible mistake and would have liked to have fought for him but the evidence against him was just too strong.

"I like to fight aggressively for my clients if that is what is appropriate and in our best interests," Knott said. "The FBI is a good thorough, professional law enforcement body and they built a solid case."

Both will be back in court this June, and in the meantime we expect more business people and politicians to be charged in what has been called a conspiracy case. The conspiracy was that an official who worked for Rizzo bribed Harris and Harris then brought Craigmiles into the case. The other official, Dean Reynolds was the first official, a former trustee to be charged. Some are expected to plead guilty; others are expected to fight the charges.

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