John Zaccaro Jr., the son of 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, was found guilty Saturday of selling $25 worth of cocaine to an undercover police officer.
The Rutland District Court jury of seven men and five women deliberated about two hours before returning with the guilty verdict.Zaccaro, 24, was convicted of selling the cocaine while attending Middlebury College in 1986. The charge carries a maximum five-year prison term and $10,000 in fines.
A sentencing date was not immediately set.
In closing arguments, prosecutors portrayed Zaccaro as a "drug pusher" arrested under proper police procedure, while defense lawyers insisted he was entrapped by overzealous police officers and was guilty of no more than possession of cocaine for his own personal use.
During the proceedings, Ferraro and her husband, John Zaccaro Sr., sat with spectators who packed the courtroom.
Addison County State's Attorney John Quinn insisted police used standard procedure in investigating a "drug pusher." He also downplayed defense contentions that authorities overreacted to what amounted only to "rumors" involving Zaccaro.
"The way to investigate a rumor is to go to its source," Quinn said. "The runmor was not vague. There was never any question that the defendant was selling cocaine and that he was selling it openly."
While defense attorney Charles A. Tetzlaff admitted "John sold a drug in this case," he blasted the use of an "attractive" female undercover officer and suggested another investigator discussed "setting up" Zaccaro.
"He talks about `setting up' John Zaccaro," Tetzlaff said in relating a conversation involving David Wemette, a former Middlebuty detective who launched the probe after receiving a note with Zaccaro's name and the word "pharmacist."
Tetzlaff also questioned the use of officer Laura Manning to purchase the cocaine, suggesting it was an effort to entrap Zaccaro.