TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Wednesday, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin was found not guilty of campaign finance violations. McLaughlin was indicted on two charges in December 2021, including third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
Jurors began deliberations at 3:45 p.m. and then delivered their decision within an hour, acquitting the county executive of all charges, and he thanked his supporters outside of the courtroom.
In the criminal case, he was accused of withdrawing $5,000 from his campaign fund to pay $3,500 in personal debts. He was a state assemblyman at the time and allegedly filed a financial disclosure report that claimed the funds were used to pay for consulting and denied any wrongdoing.
After the verdict, Karen Kaufmann from the Rensselaer County women for a change issued a statement expressing the need for honesty and integrity in government, stating:
“We are once again reminded that people in the highest offices of the county fall terribly short of that mark. Mr. McLaughlin is innocent until proven guilty; of that, there is no question. There is also no question that Mr. McLaughlin failed to avoid appearances of impropriety, which is the standard by which all elected officials should behave.”
If McLaughlin had been found guilty, he would have had to step down as county executive. But now that he’s been acquitted of all charges, he expressed how he is ready to return to the office.
“They know the good work that we are doing,” he said. “And we are going to continue to do the good work.”