D.A. Rain says investigation into St. Lawrence Couny officials does not create conflict of interest
Friday, July 25, 2014 - 2:39 pm

By JIMMY LAWTON

St. Lawrence County District attorney Mary Rain says her investigation into the county’s failure to obtain a $550,000 grant does not constitute a conflict of interest.

In a 73-page response to an order to show cause to continue her investigation, which had been temporarily halted by state Judge Vito Caruso, Rain says she is well within legal bounds to convene the grand jury.

“The case law is quite clear the determination of a conflict is a matter for the district attorney to decide, and if she determines a conflict exists, it is up to her to determine the proper course of action to take,” the response, which is signed by her Chief Assistant District Attorney David Haggard says.

She says that response is based on existing case law from “Matter of Schumer v. Hotlzeman, 60 NY 2d 46 (1983)”

The order to cease her investigation and show cause was prompted by a letter written to the judge by St. Lawrence County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire.

Hilaire stated that Rain’s investigation appeared to be fueled by a personal vendetta regarding office space, but Rain disputed that claim.

“This cobbled together affidavit of the County Administrator and County Attorney with no motion attached is nothing more than a desperate attempt to stall or stifle a legitimate Grand Jury investigation. In actually, their affidavits are attempting to stifle an administrative investigation into the OVS grant application,” Rain wrote.

Rain says that the affidavits from County Attorney Michael Crowe and St. Hilaire are also insufficient to justify the stay order.

“The Court should summarily deny all relief averred in the purp01ted affidavits because there is not a motion before it, there are no facially sufficient affidavits in that they are not sworn under penalty of perjury and the investigation addressed by the applicant does not appear to be part of the Grand Jury investigation.”

Judge Caruso is expected to make a ruling soon.