Fraud case against former Montreal mayor postponed until December

MONTREAL – Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum has had his criminal case on fraud-related charges put off until December.

The Crown said following a brief court hearing Wednesday that it’s working to complete the disclosure of its evidence against Applebaum and his co-accused.

Crown prosecutor Marie-Helene Giroux said she hopes it will be completed by Dec. 11, the date for the next court appearance, and that a timeline for a preliminary inquiry can be set.

Applebaum faces 14 charges including fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust, and corruption in municipal affairs.

He stepped down as interim mayor after his arrest by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit in June.

He was charged along with borough official Jean-Yves Bisson and Saulie Zajdel, a longtime municipal politician who ran federally for the Conservatives in 2011 and was subsequently hired by a minister’s office to work on community outreach.

Zajdel faces five charges including bribery, breach of trust, fraud and corruption.

His lawyer took the media to task on Wednesday for their coverage of his client. Jeffrey Boro said Zajdel has been accused of all sorts of things in the press in an attempt to “sell the news.”

“I don’t think the newspapers or radio stations have earned the right to comment on what the actual evidence will be,” Boro said.

The lawyer added that Zajdel wants to go public with his side of the story but that he advised his client against it.

“We will not conduct his trial in the press, we will do it in the court,” said Boro.

The accused were not in court on Wednesday and were represented by their respective defence attorneys.

Meanwhile, lawyers will be back in court at the end of October, when media organizations argue in favour of having certain documents relating to the case unsealed.

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