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Jury finds Rensselaer County Exec. McLaughlin not guilty of campaign violations

 Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, on the far right, smiles during his trial on January 25, 2023.
Dave Lucas
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, on the far right, smiles during his trial on January 25, 2023.

A jury on Wednesday found Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin not guilty of two felony charges related to the use of campaign money while the Republican was in the state Assembly.

The New York Attorney General said around the time McLaughlin was elected County Executive in November 2017, he withdrew $5,000 from his campaign fund and directed a portion of that money be given to a staffer to pay off personal debts.

McLaughlin maintained his innocence throughout saying he was being targeted by Democratic AG Tish James.

Leaving the courtroom in Troy Wednesday afternoon, McLaughlin thanked the jury, his lawyers and the people of Rensselaer County.

“While I am disappointed in the jury’s finding today, I respect their decision," AG James said in a statement. "I am proud of the case we brought before the court and stand by our efforts to hold County Executive McLaughlin accountable. New Yorkers deserve to have faith in their public officials and can always count on my office to investigate allegations of corruption and fight for public integrity.”

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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