Ex-Councilman’s Conviction in Jeopardy With Court Probe

NEW YORK (AP) - The conviction of a New York City councilman serving a five-year prison sentence may be in jeopardy after a federal appeals court launched a probe Thursday to see whether spectators were improperly excluded from his trial.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the trial judge to look into claims by lawyers for former Bronx councilman Larry Seabrook that three spectators were excluded from portions of jury selection for his six-week 2011 trial, including his brother, a friend and a former constituent.

In a similar instance two years ago, the appeals court tossed out a man’s immigration conviction and ordered a new trial.

Seabrook, 62, was convicted of misdirecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for community projects to friends and family and was sentenced to five years.

His trial was notable because evidence included a doctored receipt that increased the price of a $7 sandwich and drink to $177.