Dozens of people showed up, hoping to attend this court hearing to show the mayor, her finance director and the treasurer of her campaign committee their support, but with COVID-19 rules, only a handful of people were allowed inside.
News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke was one of them. She sat just a few rows behind the mayor.
The only time the mayor spoke was to say “yes, sir” when the judge reminded her she needed to return to court after releasing her in her own recognizance.
Mayor Warren arrived about 20 minutes before the hearing.
She is charged with scheme to defraud and violation of election law for allegedly using an illegal PAC to bolster her campaign fundraising.
Her attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.
The other defendants in this case, facing the same charges are the city’s current finance director, Rosalind Brooks-Harris, who was the treasurer of the PAC at the time and Albert Jones Jr. who was the treasurer of the campaign committee at the time.
They too pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
They all had a lot of supporters outside the courtroom, who cheered when they came out and encouraged them to keep their heads up.
“She’s a very good friend and a close friend of mine and I just don’t believe that she would intentionally do anything to hurt the people of Rochester,” Minister Joyce Pettway said.
“[I] just feel like they haven’t given her a fair chance from the beginning of her run and it just seems like they pick on her for every little thing that she may do or may not do and I just think that she did a lot of good for us,” Carrie Fuqua said.
The mayor and the two other defendants are due back in court on Jan. 12.
An out-of-county judge has been assigned to the case.
Monday in court he said his schedule is pretty full and if this goes to trial, it wouldn’t likely be until May.