Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez walked quietly into a conference room at his criminal defense attorney’s office Monday evening and said he would not resign, despite a new warrant out for his arrest.
“I intend to fight these charges and continue to serve as your mayor,” Perez said, reading from a prepared statement. “I am innocent of the charges against me and I will fight for the facts to come out, because the truth is on my side.” The mayor called the news conference after learning that a judge had signed a warrant for his arrest Monday afternoon. “I am confident that I will be acquitted of all charges and my reputation will be restored," Perez said. The specific charge in the arrest warrant was not released Monday, but NBC Connecticut has learned that the allegations involve former state Rep. Abraham Giles. Perez’s involvement with Giles has been called into question since 2006, when the mayor awarded a no-bid contract to Giles’ company to run a city-owned parking lot at Main and Trumbull streets. The mayor did not address that allegation or take any questions at the news conference, but said he has no plans of stepping down as he fights the charges he faces. "In the meanwhile, I will continue to serve the citizens of Hartford as their mayor," said Perez. Mayor Perez made a similar pledge in January after his arrest on bribery and other charges. That case centers around contractor Peter Costa, who did home renovations for the mayor and was also awarded millions of dollars in city contracts. "It is very unusual for there to be a second charge of criminal offenses while you have pending charges,” said Jim Bergenn, a legal analyst and attorney for the firm Shipman and Goodwin in Hartford. Bergenn said the new allegations complicate Perez’s upcoming trial on bribery charges. Jury selection was expected to get underway next week. "The thing that is very curious to me is how the judge is going to react because he, number one, has to get a fair and impartial jury. This is going to make a lot of news,” Bergenn said, referring to the new arrest warrant. “And number two, they have to sort out how the defendant here, the mayor, gets a fair trial,” said Bergenn. That’s what Mayor Eddie Perez says he wants too. “Let me be clear, I will not resign. I will continue to serve the people of Hartford because they elected me to do a job and that job is not finished. The only thing I ask the citizens of Hartford is to let me have my day in court,” Perez said. With the warrant out for his arrest, Mayor Perez is expected to go to the Connecticut State Police barracks in Hartford to be processed. That will likely happen Tuesday or Wednesday.