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Thurman supervisor facing felony charge over easement issue

THURMAN A Warren County grand jury indicted six-term Thurman Supervisor John Haskell on a felony charge of defrauding the government and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct, forwarding prosecutors allegations that Haskell improperly arranged an easement for a piece of property he owns in town. Haskell pleaded not guilty to the charges during a May 1 arraignment before acting Warren County Judge Jerry Scarano. County Judge John Hall, who is acquainted with Haskell, excused himself. Haskell said Wednesday he had done nothing wrong and was baffled by the allegations. Im absolutely positive the charges will be dismissed, he said. And if it does go to trial, I will be found innocent. He said that state Police investigators did not interview town board members, who had voted in 2005 on a utility easement for the property, which is landlocked. And if the investigators had interviewed them, he said, theyd find out there was no basis for the allegations hes now facing. If the board members had been interviewed by the investigators, they have told them they knew exactly what they were voting on, he said. Things were apparently taken out of context. Haskell faces up to four years in jail if convicted. Also, Haskell could be removed from office if hes convicted of a felony related to his sworn duties as a public official. Haskell said he and his lawyer, Jeffrey Matte of Glens Falls, were uncomfortable about some undercurrents in the case, and that he suspected that politics were involved. Someone has a personal gripe, and its created this legal tidal wave, he said.

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