The trial of former Suffolk County legislator George Guldi went to the jury today, and a verdict is expected sometime this week, according to the Hampton Bays Patch. Guldi has been charged with absconding with an $853,000 insurance check, which he received after fire destroyed his historic Westhampton Beach home in 2008. Though the charges could see him jailed for years, they are only a prelude to the staggering $82 million in mortgage fraud for which he will be tried later this year.
Financial difficulties relating to that case forced Guldi to dismiss his representation, and for the last month he has run his own defense. His lack of expertise in criminal law, along with his flair for the dramatic, have turned what was meant to be a one-week trial into a monthlong circus. The fireworks peaked at the end of last week, when Guldi himself took the stand, delivering his testimony in a lengthy narrative whose scope stretched all the way back to his day of birth.
When the assistant district attorney questioned him, the cross-examination turned to bickering, and the judge stepped in. “This is getting out of hand!” he said, and threatened to cut the questioning short.
In his summation, Guldi reiterated his earlier point that could never have misappropriated money from his bank, as the prosecution claims, because the money was his to begin with. He referred to himself as “Jabba the Hutt with pockmarks,” and with a smile asked the jury for mercy.
“My fate, my career and the impact on my family are in your hands,” he said. In a few days, the prison tailor will know if he has to start stitching a Jabba-sized jumpsuit.