Federal prosecutors said yesterday that Congress intended allegedly corrupt District of Columbia officials to be charged under U.S. as well as local bribery laws "because local corruption in the nation's capital will always reflect poorly . . . not just on the local government, but on the nation as a whole."
The argument came in government answers to pretrial motions that had been filed by defense attorneys for former D.C. mayoral aide Joseph P. Yeldell and parking lot magnate Dominic F. Antonelli Jr. The two men are scheduled to go to trial Sept. 18 on federal bribery and conspiracy charges.
Their defense attorneys had argued that the charges should be dismissed for various legal reasons, or that at least they should be transferred to D.C. Superior Court from U.S. District Court because they involved purely local issues.
The prosecutors argued against dismissal of the charge that the two men conspired to defraud the District of Columbia government of Yeldell's lawful governmental functions, saying that, even if a $33,000 loan from Antonelli to Yeldell was not a bribe it still could be construed as an illega impairment of the city government's leasing operation. The government alleges that the loan was in return for Yeldell's steering of a lease to an Antonelli-owned building at 60 Florida Ave. NE.
In arguing as well that the bribery charges against the men should stay in federal court, the prosecutors said that, since Congress approves the District of Colubia's budget, "it surely has an interest in seeing the local programs are properly administered and that the officials in control of government funds are free from corruption."