The $1.1 million grand larceny trial of New York City political operative John Haggerty almost got interesting this morning when Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the alleged victim, took the stand, but then it didn't — at least not in the way the New York Times had hoped. Instead, the mayor kept his cool for most of his 155-minute testimony, a distinct shift from a Bloomberg deposition two years ago in a separate case, in which the mayor was called patronizing, sarcastic, irritable, mocking, and self-assured, "bordering on cockiness," by the paper of record. Today though, the newspaper reports that Bloomberg was "not rattled," but then proceeds to put down his temperament anyway.
The mayor was called as a witness for the prosecution to explain just how a donation of more than $1 million from Bloomberg's personal funds to the Independence Party, ostensibly to pay for "ballot security," ended up allegedly pilfered by Haggerty for personal use. But because of the victim's high profile, political types have taken notice and piled into the courtroom today expecting to witness Hizzoner's notorious gruff side.
Instead he cracked "an occasional smile" and "barely" allowed "a glimpse of his snappish side." The faint praise (or subtle insults) from the Times — often called "negging" in dating — continues: Bloomberg is described as "notoriously testy under questioning by reporters" and patience is referred to as "the one quality for which he is least known." On the stand he was "unapologetic," "shrugged off questions," and even "occasionally smiled."
Fortunately for his performance, Bloomberg was saved by the prosecution's objection when the defense attorney quoted from his autobiography, Bloomberg by Bloomberg, in an attempt to undermine the mayor's credibility. Last time someone quoted his book back at him, in the mayor's pissy 2009 deposition, he shot back, "your reading is good."
After his testimony, according to another Times report, "Bloomberg sat alone on the stand, appearing to check his e-mail and then looking toward the ceiling as if interested in the architecture." In lieu of the mayor's "snappish side," it seems the Times stood in.
Previously: What Is Mayor Bloomberg Doing in the Middle of a $1 Million Grand Larceny Trial? [NYM]
At Consultant’s Trial, Bloomberg Is Queried but Not Rattled [NYT]
Bloomberg’s Testifies in Consultant’s Trial [CityRoom/NYT]