Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Lovely Warren (D) pleaded not guilty to felony campaign finance charges during an arraignment Monday.

Warren’s lawyer Joseph Damelio entered the mayor’s plea on her behalf during her arraignment in Monroe County Court. He said Warren did not purposefully break any campaign laws and was not preparing to resign as “her ability to govern has not been impaired,” The Associated Press reported

“She welcomes the opportunity for the public to see whether the district attorney’s charges hold water,” Damelio told reporters.

Warren along with two associates were indicted on Friday on charges of scheming to defraud and violating election laws. Her campaign treasurer, Albert Jones Jr., and Rosalind Brooks-Harris, the treasurer of the PAC that supported the mayoral candidate, also both pleaded not guilty. 

The three allegedly made moves to evade contribution limits between Nov. 6, 2013 and Nov. 7, 2017. 

If the mayor is convicted, she could face up to four years in prison, lose her law license and be removed as mayor, district attorney Sandra Doorley said, according to AP.

Motions in the case will be argued on Jan. 12.

The state Board of Elections had received complaints about Warren’s campaign finances in 2017 from two candidates who ran against her. But Doorley said the board received a 35-page report in March “that found considerable evidence” against the three defendants. 

Warren has denied wrongdoing and called the investigation a “political witch hunt.”

The mayor has faced separate calls to resign over the city’s handling of Daniel Prude’s suffocation death in March after police pinned the Black man naked to a street and put a spit hood over his head. 

Prude’s family released police body camera video of his arrest last month after they received it through an open records request. The video sparked unrest

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, who has faced calls to resign over her city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police, pleaded not guilty Monday to campaign finance charges dating to her 2017 reelection campaign.



Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren walks out of city court after her arraignment in Rochester, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Warren, who has faced calls to resign over her city's handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police, pleaded not guilty Monday to campaign finance charges dating to her 2017 reelection campaign. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


© Provided by Associated Press
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren walks out of city court after her arraignment in Rochester, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Warren, who has faced calls to resign over her city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police, pleaded not guilty Monday to campaign finance charges dating to her 2017 reelection campaign. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

A lawyer for the second-term mayor, a Democrat, entered the plea on her behalf. Warren had been indicted Friday by a grand jury on charges of scheming to defraud and violating election laws.

Warren’s lawyer says she did not intentionally break any law and is ready to fight the charges.

“She welcomes the opportunity for the public to see whether the district attorney’s charges hold water,” attorney Joseph Damelio said outside court after the proceeding.

Warren left the court without speaking reporters. She stopped briefly to hug a couple of the few dozen supporters outside the building who chanted, “We still believe.”

Warren, leader of the Lake Ontario city of more than 200,000 people, was arraigned in Monroe County Court. Sitting in the front row and wearing a face mask, Warren said she had no questions when asked by the judge.



Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, center, walks out of city court after her arraignment in Rochester, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Warren, who has faced calls to resign over her city's handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police, pleaded not guilty Monday to campaign finance charges dating to her 2017 reelection campaign. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


© Provided by Associated Press
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, center, walks out of city court after her arraignment in Rochester, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Warren, who has faced calls to resign over her city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police, pleaded not guilty