John Liu Calmly Defends Campaign in Emergency Press Conference

John Liu before speaking to reporters. (Photo: Jill Colvin)

John Liu before speaking to reporters. (Photo: Jill Colvin)

Hours after his former treasurer and a fund-raiser were found guilty on campaign fraud charges, City Comptroller John Liu said he was “proud” of his campaign and vowed to carry on with his bid to become the city’s next mayor.

“I’m deeply saddened by the turn of events today. I continue to believe that Jenny’s a good person, and we will continue to ask the voters of this city for their support in my campaign to be mayor of New York City,” he told reporters after a forum in Brooklyn, where he continued to act as though nothing had changed.

The donors, Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, and his young former campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou, were found guilty of orchestrating a straw donor scheme on Mr. Liu’s behalf Thursday.

But the man in charge of watching over the city’s finances insisted that he remained satisfied with his team.

“I am proud of the way that my campaign has been conducted. I’ve always said that all along. This is an investigation that has been going on now for almost four years including tapping my phones, interrogating thousands of my supporters. It is what it is. I’m moving forward with my campaign. And at the end of the day, the voters of this great city will decide,” he said calmly.

“We have raised millions of dollars and I am extremely gratified with the amount of support that we’ve gotten from the people,” he added.

Mr. Liu was bombarded by questions, including whether he could be trusted following the verdicts.

“I am very proud of my record as comptroller. I’m proud of my record as a city council member. And I’ve put forward a vision for New York City that I believe will take us well into the next decade,” he said. “And I will continue to talk about these issues that are important to New Yorkers, whether it be education—as we just talked about at this forum I exited—to economic development and creation of jobs, to building affordable housing.”

And he challenged the feds to continue digging.

“The investigation is not approaching four years,” he said. “They can look at anything and everything they want. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ve got a clear conscious. And we are gong to present a very strong case directly to the voters of New York City.”

He also defended Ms. Hou as “very capable” and a “good person,” despite being found guilty on obstruction of justice charges.

“I continue to believe in her,” he said, adding: “She is a very mature person and she has handled this with incredible grace and dignity.”

He had less to say about Mr. Pan, merely stating, “I said what I said about Jenny.”

Mr. Pan, however, still has a defender in the form of his lawyer Irwin Rochman, who told Politicker he was “disappointed” in the decision.

“The legal issues were complicated.” he said of the jury’s decision. “But I think they tried.”