The prison-sentenced former mayoral campaign treasurer for City Comptroller John Liu filed a notice of appeal Wednesday in hopes the court will reverse its conviction.
Jia “Jenny” Hou, 26, was sentenced to 10 months in prison on October 10 for attempting to commit wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing justice in a straw donor scheme.
“Jenny Hou is not guilty of any crime, not factually and not legally,” said her lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt.
“I believe she is a scapegoat,” Lefcourt added, “onto whom all of the limitations of the Campaign Finance Board, the ills of raising money for political campaigns, have unfairly been placed.”
Federal officials said Hou and another convicted Liu aide, Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, evaded Campaign Finance Board restrictions that limit donor contributions to citywide candidates to $4,950.
The pair used straw donors, prosecutors said, or individuals who illegally make political contributions in their own names with money they have received from others.
Hou was caught offering to reimburse an individual for donations well-above the allowed amount during a series of instant messages on July 14, court records show.
Prosecutors said she also instructed campaign volunteers on how to imitate the handwriting of campaign donors on the contribution forms in order to make it appear official.
But Lefcourt said there was no evidence Hou knew anyone was being reimbursed for donations made at a May 9 fundraiser.
The warrant obtained from Google to access her e-mails was also “not legally sufficient and should never have been issued,” he said.
“The conviction of Jenny Hou cannot stand,” the attorney said.
Hou also failed to give up documents with identities of several campaign contributors in response to subpoenas and lied about producing them, according to court records.
“I’m not in the least bit surprised that Jenny would appeal even in light of receiving what many consider a light sentence,” Liu said in a statement. “She is a person of strong mind and uncompromising character. I believe in her and remain hopeful that she will be vindicated.”