The Buffalo Billion trial began on Monday, June 18. In this trial, the defendants are accused of rigging the bidding process for lucrative building contracts in order to ensure that they went to LPCiminelli and COR Development. These contracts were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, including one for a $750 million state commitment for a Tesla solar panel factory. This factory is a main component of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion plan. Criminal defense attorney Paul Cambria spoke to WBEN about the beginning of the Buffalo Billion trial and how the trial could unfold. For the full story, visit the WBEN website.
WBEN asked Mr. Cambria what he took away from the opening arguments from both the prosecution and the defense. “Opening statements are basically what you believe the evidence is going to show when the case is over. And so, basically, it’s your best foot forward on both sides,” he explained. Mr. Cambria went on to say that it is important to remember that the lawyers making these statements were not present for any of the actual transactions, “so it’s basically what they think is going to be the outcome of the proof. And so, I take those with a grain of salt. It’s when you start listening to the witnesses that makes the difference in the case.”
When asked what he anticipates happening during the testimony portion of the trial, Mr. Cambria responded that “the government is going to try to show that there was, basically, some dishonest activity in order to have the bids go to Ciminelli and, obviously, the Ciminelli defense team is going to say that everything that was done is within the realm of this kind of operation.” He went on to say that the government will want to show “that, in some way or another, the Ciminelli Group influenced the process to the point where they had to get the bid” and that Ciminelli will attempt to demonstrate that they were the most qualified company for the job and that they did nothing wrong.
Effect on Governor Cuomo
Mr. Cambria was then asked what the repercussions for Governor Cuomo might be. In response, he explained that the Governor is “not a party, he hasn’t been charged, they haven’t accused him of any wrongdoing.” Mr. Cambria went on to say that the only way the Governor might be implicated is that “campaign contributions were made to the Governor by a number of companies.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if each and every company that’s ever bid on a state project hasn’t contributed to one candidate or another over the years, hoping that the door would remain open to a receptive bid by them. But he’s not a party. He’s not going to be found responsible one way or another,” Mr. Cambria explained.
About Paul J. Cambria, Jr.
The chair of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, Mr. Cambria advises clients on criminal trials, criminal appeals, constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between the firm’s offices in Buffalo and Los Angeles.