Maybe they should have just let her take the Fifth.
The feds’ star witness against City Councilman Larry Seabrook revealed yesterday that she’s been suffering from memory problems for years and was recently prescribed medication to battle the “onset of dementia.”
But ex-Seabrook mistress Gloria Jones-Grant — who stunned prosecutors on Monday by disavowing corruption allegations against the Bronx Democrat — said she hasn’t started taking the meds and doesn’t plan to for another two weeks.
During cross-examination in Manhattan federal court, Jones-Grant, 71, also revealed that she stays “in touch” with Seabrook two or three times a week, and last spoke to him about three weeks ago — right around the start of his trial.
Jones-Grant — who was granted immunity to force her testimony against Seabrook — said she never told the feds about her as-yet untreated illness, although she authorized her lawyer to spill the beans.
Prosecutors used an objection to block Jones-Grant from saying whether that conversation took place, but her lawyer later said he passed along her diagnosis immediately upon learning about it Nov. 8 — the day before opening statements.
Lawyer William T. Martin said he sent Jones-Grant for testing because her faulty memory was “apparent” during a series of pretrial interviews with federal investigators.
“The government should have known she was a loose cannon in the midst of their fortifications because they knew of her condition,” he said.
He also said that the decision to delay Jones-Grant’s drug therapy was made by her doctor as part of standard “protocol,” and that her anticipated court appearance was not a factor.
During her testimony yesterday, Jones-Grant stuck to her denial of allegations that she paid kickbacks to Seabrook from consulting work he arranged for her, saying she gave him a series of cash payments to repay at least $18,000 in loans so she could escape an abusive husband who looted her bank accounts.
Jones-Grant also said she initially told investigators that Seabrook directed her to forge signatures on a pair of subleases for office space because “at that time, I thought it was the truth.”
But Jones-Grant said she had since “come to the conclusion” that she committed the crime on her own “so it would not hold up funding” from the city for a pair of nonprofits that she purportedly ran.
“It was not a document, it was a lease,” she noted.
Seabrook is accused of secretly boosting the rent on the space, adjacent to his Bronx district office, in order to scam council “slush” funds so the nonprofits could employ his family members and pals.
The federal prosecutors’ final witness, Deputy Inspector General Laila Yu, of the city’s Department of Investigation, said yesterday that the rent scheme soaked city taxpayers for $100,900 in excess payments.
Michael Benjamin
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