YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Bogota councilman can no longer hold public office after being convicted today of punching ex-Mayor Tito Jackson during a heated argument at borough hall last summer.
Presiding Central Municipal Judge Roy McGeady also cleared Jackson of Evaristo Burdiez’s claim that he provoked the incident during a heated discussion of the borough’s 2014 budget at an Aug. 5 council meeting.
McGeady also fined Burdiez more than $1,000, including fees, while convicting him of simple assault and obstruction of government functions.
Burdiez was “unruly and belligerent,” acted “out of order” and used profanity, the judge said, while banning him from ever holding public office again.
“We’re extremely satisfied with the judge’s decision,” Jackson’s attorney, Nancy Lucianna, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Finally the truth has come out.”
Three witnesses, including a Bogota police officer, testified that Burdiez was drunk when the incident occurred.
No one said they saw the mayor touch or threaten the councilman — while several said they saw him punch Jackson with a closed fist.
“He was drunk. You could smell it on his breath,” Jackson told CLIFFVIEW PILOT after the incident left him with a welt on his head ( photo, above ). “The whole council witnessed it — the CFO, the borough attorney….The guy went nuts.”
“You could tell [Burdiez] was agitated when we got into the meeting,” Jackson added.
Finally, he said, he told the councilman that he “was being inappropriate.”
At that point, Jackson said, Burdiez began cursing.
“I picked up the phone and said, ‘I’m going to have you removed from the meeting.’ That’s when he swung over the business administrator.
“He hit me, then said I hit him with all of those witnesses there,” the then-mayor told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Burdiez argued that he swung at Jackson to remove the mayor’s finger from his face.
“I thought he was going to hit me,” he told the judge. “He poked me [in the chest], when I stood up. I pushed him back with an open hand.”
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