As Councilman Andy King is facing expulsion for numerous violations, his lawyer addressed the media Friday, where he denied all allegations against the councilman.
Attorney Joey Jackson was shell-shocked by the litany of charges against his client. Surrounded by King, clergy and community members, Jackson heaped praise on King to defend his innocence.
“We’re here today to address a serious wrong,” Jackson said. “This is a councilman who does his job and does it well.”
The Council’s Ethics Committee had been investigating King since early on in 2017, alleging that he “engaged in gender-based harassment” regarding a photo accidentally posted to his Twitter account by a staffer that was intended for their personal account in June 2015.
The “sickening” report on King said he allegedly referred to that photo being the same “as child pornography” in front of staff while also alleging King to have set up his wife, Neva Shillingford-King to “essentially help run his office” while also giving her the power to hire staffers. The Council also resolved that Shillingford-King may not have any future involvement in her husband’s office.
He had been accused of misappropriating Council funds for a “retreat” fit for a king in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one that both the council member and his wife attended.
In the hearing last week, the committee wanted to see if King engaged in vulgar behavior with a staffer, made restitution on a $15,000 fine and accepted a payment he should not have received.
“The fact is this hearing, if you can call it that, was never a search for justice and the search for truth,” Jackson explained. “It was always a character assassination.”
Throughout the press conference Jackson cited a need for facts, but claimed that the committee did not provide any.
He touched on the claim that King allegedly took money but said that assertion could not be true when on the day in question, the councilman was flying across the Atlantic.
Jackson gave proof of this to the committee, including airline receipts of King’s flight. There was also a supposed witness who changed their story involved in this case.
“This is the person the committee says is credible,” he said.
Addressing the alleged vulgar and discriminatory behavior towards a staffer, Jackson said these are bogus charges. According to Jackson, King asked his employee to go on medical leave because she had a condition.
The lawyer explained that King was trying to look out for the well-being of his staffer and reportedly called her afterwards to see how she was doing. Furthermore, King even offered the staffer her job back, but the committee claims he did not do it quickly enough.
Jackson noted he did not immediately ask her to return because he was grieving the death of his father.
“You would think if somebody is being discriminated against they might tell somebody,” he commented.
Lastly, the committee claimed that King had not made restitution on a $15,000 fine from last year. The lawyer argued that the claim was absurd since the law firm was in negotiations regarding the payment to the committee.
As the councilman prepared to face the full council on the morning of Oct. 5, Jackson asked for Attorney General Letitia James to look into the committee and see how it could use these findings as a basis for expulsion.
“I would expect and believe that the people of the city New York deserve better,” Jackson said.
If King is to be expelled, which will next be voted on by the entire City Council, it would be the first ever expulsion in the history of City Hall.