Trial for Andrew Quinlan continues; closing arguments expected Monday
TIOGA COUNTY, N.Y. - The defense presented its case Friday in the jury trial of Andrew Quinlan, the Waverly, N.Y. businessman and Tioga County, N.Y. Legislator standing trial for charges of Possession of Gambling Records in the First Degree, a Class E Felony.
Andrew Quinlan's attorney, Robert Clune, began the day by calling four witnesses that testified they placed informal bets with Andrew Quinlan on football games, horse races and tennis matches. Bets where both parties wager small amounts of money, winner takes all, are legal in New York.
Clune called the witnesses to establish that Andrew Quinlan was a prolific bettor, accepting any bet offered to him by a number of friends, and that records seized during a February 2010 search of the Quinlan home reflected this activity in addition to bets Andrew Quinlan placed with local bookies, again not a crime.
The star witness of the morning was Marilee Quinlan, wife of 47 years to Andrew Quinlan, who claimed as much as $50,000 was not returned to her by state police after the search of her home.
Marilee Quinlan testified that she told investigators a small safe and its contents found in the couple's bedroom during the search of their home was hers, and her husband did not know the safe's combination nor have access to the contents.
State police demanded that she open the safe, according to Marilee Quinlan, or they would take it with them. Marilee Quinlan complied, and investigators discovered tens of thousands of dollars inside the safe, along with a note that a third party owed Andrew Quinlan $9,000.
Exactly how much money was in the safe when she opened it is contested by Marilee Quinlan, who said she had time to retrieve two partial records of how much money was in the safe before investigators moved in.
Two boxes inside the safe contained the cash; one containing $81,000 is not in dispute. Another box found inside the safe contained at least $41,000, the amount on one of the receipts Marilee Quinlan states she retrieved. She claims that another receipt she was unable to grab before being denied access to the safe would have shown an additional $50,000 was in the container with the $41,000.
Marilee Quinlan testified that troopers placed the cash in a brown paper bag, saying by state law it had to be taken to a bank to be counted. During testimony Thursday, State Police Investigator Mike Myers corroborated Marilee Quinlan's testimony that the money was placed in a brown paper bag for transport to a bank for counting.
However, during cross-examination by Clune on Thursday, Lead Investigator Scott Cipollina stated he had been informed the troopers went out for lunch before going to the nearest bank, only a few minute drive from the Quinlan home, to count the money.
Afternoon testimony was from the defendant, Andrew Quinlan. The 81-year old man shambled onto the witness stand after being sworn in, and for the first time jurors heard his baritone voice.
After sitting hunched and sometimes wearing a jacket at the witness table, Andrew Quinlan soon assumed the demeanor of a man in his late fifties. After Andrew Quinlan reviewed the charges against him, Clune asked him whether he had been convicted on gambling and bookmaking charges before. Andrew Quinlan admitted he had been so convicted in 1972 and in 1985.
Clune then began questioning Andrew Quinlan about the state's documentary evidence seized from their home. Repeatedly Andrew Quinlan disputed what investigators claimed the records showed, though he had no explanation why there were several college football schedules in the documents that appeared to have bets recorded on them.
Andrew Quinlan said that he has not operated any kind of illegal gambling enterprise since his last conviction in 1985, though he had placed bets with several bookies in the area.
Andrew Quinlan testified that his favorite bookmaker was a Jeffrey Iacovelli who was indicted on gambling and bookmaking charges in Ithaca during March of 2011. Andrew Quinlan said that Iacovelli was an "honorable bookie" who never changed the spread like they did in Binghamton.
All such gambling activity ceased after the search of his home, Andrew Quinlan said, because it was "too dangerous," he wanted to spare his wife the trauma of another search of their house.
Andrew Quinlan freely admitted he was a "football nut," and avidly followed the numerous lines and spreads published in newspapers and other sources nationally. He added that because of all this activity, investigators assumed that he was involved in illegal gambling himself, although all he ever personally accepted as bets were legal 'head to head' bets from friends.
Clune asked if Andrew Quinlan had ever included a vig, or percentage for winning or losing a bet, with his friends. "Absolutely not," Andrew Quinlan boomed into the microphone. Charging or awarding a vig is illegal in New York State.
Under questioning from Clune, Andrew Quinlan said that the biggest bets he regularly accepted were $50,meaning there would only be a five dollar profit on such a bet for Andrew Quinlan if he used a vig with them. Andrew Quinlan said his net worth is over a million dollars after an inheritance from his deceased older sister, and confirmed that he has $190,000 set aside for betting. "A lot more than that really," he added, and that he had placed several bets over a thousand dollars with his bookie.
Under cross-examination from McElwee, Andrew Quinlan said that he bet on a big scale, and did not even think about the smaller bets with friends of less than a hundred dollars. When asked about a $1,000 bet Andrew Quinlan had accepted, he replied, "I kinda like it though because he ain't gotta win."
When McElwee pressed on the unexplained football tickets as being a prime example of something a gambling racket would produce and use, Andrew Quinlan responded, "according to you."
McElwee also played for the court a recorded phone conversation in which Andrew Quinlan allegedly offers to 'fix' a speeding ticket issued to his bookie, Iacovelli. McElwee said that in the conversation Andrew Quinlan told Iacovelli he would get rid of the ticket by taking the judge presiding over Iacovelli's case out for lunch.
Andrew Quinlan denied any wrongdoing over the ticket, and said that he would simply tell Iacovelli to retain a good lawyer.
Clune said during a recess that the state is pushing hard on the alleged gambling records because the tiny amounts involved need to accumulate in order to justify the felony charges levied against Andrew Quinlan.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning, June 25, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. The trial is being held in the Tioga County Courthouse in downtown Owego.
If found guilty of the charges, Andrew Quinlan could face a maximum of four years in prison on the felony charge.