Prosecution rests case against former Hallandale Beach mayor

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The prosecution has rested its case against a former Hallandale Beach mayor accused of misconduct and campaign finance crimes.

The trial of Joy Cooper continued on Friday, and prosecutors told jurors the illegal contributions were channeled through teachers.

Cooper was caught on video meeting with undercover FBI agents posing as land developers at Gulfstream Park in 2012. Agents said she agreed to take cash in exchange for favorable votes.

Prosecutors said former lobbyist Alan Koslow was the middleman who negotiated the dollar amount between the two parties and wrote the offer on a piece of paper.

A prosecutor asked on Wednesday, “Did you show it to the defendant?”

“Yes,” Koslow said.

The prosecutor then asked, “What was her response?”

“Add a zero,” Koslow replied.

Prosecutors said Koslow took the cash and gave it to Julia Yaremchuck, who was running a charter school.

Yaremchuck then instructed her teachers to donate to the mayor’s reelection campaign, prosecutors said.

A prosecutor asked, “Did he say he was going to give you cash to then pass onto these other people?”

“Yes, he did,” Yaremchuck said.

A prosecutor then asked, “Did you give that cash to some of your teachers?”

“Yes,” Yaremchuck replied.

When prosecutors asked if Yaremchuck asked for and received checks, she replied, “Yes.”

Defense attorneys said Koslow was a man with a cocaine problem who needed cash — a habit, they said, got worse during the investigation.

“It was heavier for good reason,” Koslow said Thursday. “I was under tremendous stress.”

Defense attorneys also said Yaremchuck, the woman accused of handing out cash to teachers, failed to mention that in previous depositions.

When asked if she never got any money from Koslow, Yaremchuck nodded her head in agreement.

The trial has since wrapped up for the day and will continue next week. It remains unclear who the defense will call as witnesses — if anyone at all.

Two of the charges the former mayor faces are felonies, and those carry maximum sentences of five years in prison.

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