- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has upheld a lower-court ruling that threw out the corruption convictions of former Mayor Eddie Perez.

Prosecutors sought to reverse a 2013 Appellate Court ruling, which found the state improperly combined two cases into one trial.

Perez, a Democrat, was mayor from 2001 to 2010, when he was convicted of accepting a contractor’s bribe of home improvements and trying to extort $100,000 from a developer. He was sentenced to three years in prison but remained free on bail during his appeal.

Perez’s defense lawyer, Hubert Santos, argued that holding one trial violated Perez’s right to testify in one case and remain silent in the other. The Supreme Court agreed.

“We conclude that the defendant timely made a compelling showing that he had important testimony to give in one case and a strong need to refrain from testifying in the other and, therefore, that the trial court had abused its discretion in declining to sever the cases,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority.

Senior Justice Christine Vertefeuille and Justice Peter Zarella dissented from the ruling, arguing the decision on whether to sever the cases should have been left to the judgment of the trial court.

Chief state’s attorney Kevin Kane said it’s his intention to retry Perez “in accordance with the Supreme Court decision.”

A Superior Court judge last year rejected a deal that would have had the former mayor plead guilty to corruption charges in exchange for a sentence of probation.

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