By Adam Luxenberg
The mood was sombre in room 4.05 of the Montreal courthouse on Thursday afternoon, as former Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum was sentenced to one year in prison and two years probation on corruption and fraud charges, stemming to when he was borough mayor of Cote Des Neiges Notre Dame De Grace. Justice Louis Prevost spent 45 minutes explaining the sentence, after which Applebaum was handcuffed, with his hands behind his back, by a court constable.
Applebaum was then remanded into custody, but asked the court for permission to speak before being taken away. In his statement, Applebaum pledged that when his sentence is up he will be a “better person” and a “model prisoner”. He reminisced about some of the positive acts he committed as Mayor of his borough, such as evacuating citizens during 1998’s ice storm. He reflected on his first years in politics and promised to return to his remarkable family and “put food on the table and to make a life”.
Applebaum then continued by explaining that in Jewish religion, Jews are commanded to do good deeds called mitzvahs.
“One thing that is very important is to be able to do mitzvahs…” He said, “One day, I don’t know how or where, but I assure you, I will do mitzvahs again, because when you are put on earth, the question often is, what have you done in your life and I want to be able to say that I did mitzvahs and that I gave to the population…I don’t know exactly how, but I guarantee to you and everybody here, I will do mitzvahs again.”
Applebaum faced 14 charges. He was found guilty of fraud against the government, breach of trust, conspiracy and corruption in municipal affairs. Four charges were frozen and he was found not guilty on two fraud charges.
Crown prosecutor Nathalie Kleber was pleased with the sentence, “if you are found guilty on those counts, you go to jail.” She said. Applebaum’s lawyer, Pierre Tiesdale said that the verdict is what they expected.