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Moriarty Testifies About Political Corruption For First Time

July 11, 1985

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A fireworks manufacturer who pleaded guilty to fraud in a political corruption case has testified that he bought prostitutes for politicians.

W. Patrick Moriarity said in federal court Wednesday that he spent ″several thousand dollars″ on prostitutes to entertain politicians. He said he could not remember the politicians’ names, although he said they possibly included state legislators.

Moriarty’s testimony was his first public response to accusations by former associates that he had supplied prostitutes to politicians, bankers and others in hopes of securing favors.

Moriarty was the principal owner of the Red Devil fireworks company of Orange County, which was forced into bankruptcy last year. He had lobbied for years to overcome local fireworks bans and on real estate ventures in California.

He was testifying Wednesday as a prosecution witness in the trial of Nelson Hallidy, 61, a former bank officer accused of helping Moriarty in an unrelated money-laundering scheme.

Moriarty, by his own admission, laundered $317,600 through the Bank of Irvine to avoid Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements, but he was not prosecuted in that case. Hallidy was vice president of the Bank of Irvine, which has since been taken over by Security Pacific National Bank.

Hallidy’s attorney, Byron McMillan, asked about prostitution in a series of questions intended to attack Moriarty’s credibility.

After conceding for the first time that he had paid for prostitutes, Moriarty said he could not recall the names of the favored politicians.

″Governors?″ the lawyer demanded.

″No,″ Moriarty said.

″Assemblymen?″

″Possibly,″ Moriarty replied.

″Senators?″

″Possibly,″ Moriarty said. Asked how much he spent on prostitutes, Moriarty said it was ″less than $10,000.″

In a past interview with The Associated Pess, Richard Raymond Keith said that during the 12 years he worked closely with Moriarty, he knew of hundreds of times that prostitutes were supplied to businessmen and politicians.

Keith also told the Los Angeles Times that Moriarty and his associates may have spent as much as $750,000 on prostitutes.

The Times identified some politicians who allegedly were supplied with prostitutes. Those men either denied the charges or refused comment.

Moriarity earlier agreed in March to plead guilty to seven counts of mail fraud in a plea bargain agreement with federal prosecutors, and also agreed to testify against former associates.

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