Chang Took Stand Day Before Death
On what proved to be the final day of Cecilia Chang’s embezzlement trial, she took the witness stand against the advice of her attorneys, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
Chang reportedly yelled in court that her inflated expense reports were retribution for what she felt the University owed her. “I laid out so much money over the years,” she said. “I raised $20 million for St. John’s.”
On the stand, Chang admitted to lying to an FBI agent about charging personal expenses to her University issued credit card and using international students as personal workers, saying she was drunk during the interview.
Chang said she felt she was owed money for business-related gifts that she paid for on her own.
Chang also used her time on the stand to lambaste both the current University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. and former president Rev. Joseph Cahill.
Chang said she paid for Cahill’s gambling habit, saying he took weekly trips to racetracks and Atlantic City.
About Harrington, she said she gave him about $400,000 in cash to “help the poor,” and that Harrington received 40-to-50 custom-made suits from a tailor in Hong Kong.
Her death also comes a day after the Daily News reported that, according to sources, Chang’s husband on his deathbed pointed her as a prime suspect in the 1990 execution style shooting that took his life.
Earlier in the trial, Fr. Harrington testified as a prosecution witness that, according to a transcript obtained by The Torch, he “trusted Cecilia” and that her gift giving was frequent and spanned all the way back to the first time they met each other.
Chang faced up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on all charges. In the wake of her death, U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson declared a mistrial.
The federal prosecutors in the case objected to the mistrial, according to reports.
The prosecutors did not respond to calls seeking comment.