A former campaign treasurer for City Comptroller John Liu’s unsuccessful mayoral bid filed notice Wednesday that she is appealing her criminal conviction and prison sentence for violating campaign finance laws.
Jia “Jenny” Hou told reporters outside federal court in Manhattan that she looked forward to her appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
“I am not guilty. I do not believe I did anything wrong,” she said. “I’m really hopeful the Court of Appeals will recognize that.”
A jury convicted Hou of attempted wire fraud, obstructing justice and making false statements. Her attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, said he was hopeful the appeals court will overturn the conviction and 10-month prison sentence.
Hou said she has been in contact with Liu since her conviction. He was never charged in the case and lost his bid this year to become the city’s first Asian-American mayor.
Liu said in a statement Wednesday that he was not “in the least bit surprised that Jenny would appeal even in light of receiving what many consider a light sentence.”
He added: “She is a person of strong mind and uncompromising character. I believe in her and remain hopeful that she will be vindicated.”
Prosecutors had said Hou violated campaign finance laws by using straw donors — people recruited to funnel other people’s money — to circumvent a $4,950 contribution limit.
Lefcourt said there was no evidence Hou had knowledge that anyone was reimbursed for making donations. He called her a “scapegoat” and said the trial judge erred by instructing the jury about the law in a way that relieved the government of having to prove Hou knew about the straw donors before convicting her.