FBI arrests State Sen. Malcolm Smith in alleged mayor race plot
(AP Photo/Tim Roske)
NEW YORK - New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and a New York City councilman have been arrested as part of a public corruption probe, in an alleged plot to rig the New York City mayor's race.
The FBI says Senator Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested without incident at 6 a.m. Tuesday at their homes.
Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith tried to pay off some of New York
City's Republican party bosses to get himself on the ballot as a GOP
candidate, federal prosecutors said.
Halloran and with four
other political figures also were charged in what U.S. Attorney Preet
Bharara called "an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving
six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching
from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to
Bharara says Smith "drew up the game plan" and Halloran found party chairmen who were open to receiving bribes.
Smith, a democratic state senator in Queens County since 2000, is scheduled to be arraigned in White Plains Federal Court around 2 p.m. NEWS CENTER will be there for his arraignment.
In a complete statement, Bharara said:
"Today's charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself. As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion – Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes. After the string of public corruption scandals that we have brought to light, many may rightly resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most powerful special interest in politics is self-interest. We will continue pursuing and punishing every corrupt official we find, but the public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor's problem."
Also charged are Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino; Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone; Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin; and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret. It's unclear how they are involved.
The prosecutor says charges in the case include bribery, extortion, and wire and mail fraud.
In exchange for payments to Savino and Tabone, Smith agreed to use his
power as a senator to help obtain state funds for a road project in
Spring Valley. That, in turn, was to benefit a real estate project that
Smith believed was being built by the undercover agent's company in
suburban Spring Valley, the complaint alleged.
Smith denies wrongdoing, his lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel, told The New York Times.
"Malcolm Smith is a dedicated and highly respected public servant and he steadfastly denies these charges," Shargel said.
Representatives for the other politicians did not immediately respond to comment requests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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