A veteran New York City Councilman funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for charity to benefit himself, his girlfriend and family, prosecutors say.
His lawyer says the government has distorted his solid record of helping the needy in his Bronx district.
The opposing portraits of Larry Seabrook were offered Wednesday at opening statements at his corruption trial in federal court in Manhattan.
Seabrook was charged last year in an investigation of alleged abuse of discretionary funds.
Prosecutors allege he used the money to put his girlfriend, family members and friends on the payroll of charities, even though they did little or no actual work.
He's also accused of shaking down a contractor who worked on the new Yankee Stadium.
The 60-year-old Democrat has denied the charges.