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McLaughlin arraigned; charged with two felonies

Dec 02, 2021 6:00 am

Kenneth C. Crowe II and Brendan J. Lyons are reporting for the Times Union a judge on Wed., Dec. 1, unsealed an indictment accusing Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin of misusing campaign funds and falsifying campaign finance filings. The indictment was the product of a long-running investigation by the state attorney general's office and the FBI. McLaughlin, a Republican, was indicted on two felony counts, grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. The AG's office began its probe of McLaughlin's campaign for county executive in 2017 and included an examination of his financial dealings during the time he was a member of the state Assembly. McLaughlin allegedly stole $5,000 in funds from his campaign account on Nov. 21, 2017, just weeks after winning election to his county post. He then falsely reported the expense in campaign documents filed with the state Board of Elections. McLaughlin arrived in the courtroom Wednesday, for his arraignment around noon in front of Judge Jennifer Sober. The newly reelected county executive, who was represented by attorney Benjamin W. Hill, has until January 17 to enter a plea. He was released on his own recognizance. McLaughlin did not speak during the proceedings before Sober. He rushed from the courtroom without responding to reporters' questions. The Democratic minority leadership of the Rensselaer County Legislature called on McLaughlin to resign, while the Republican chairman of the GOP-controlled legislature stuck by him. The indictment was handed up by a county grand jury following a November presentation by the members of the attorney general's public integrity unit. Read more in the Times Union.