News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 6, 2015: Former Jamaican-American New York State Senator, Malcolm Smith, was convicted Thursday in a failed $200,000 bribery scheme to fix the Republican line in the 2013 mayoral election.
Smith, a former senator in Queens, NY, now faces up to 45 years in jail.
A White Plains federal jury took a little over two hours deliberating before convicting Smith and his accomplice, former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, on bribery charges.
“As the jury unanimously found, the give-and-take of the political process should not be the giving and taking of bribes, which is what Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone tried to make it,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “Smith gave, and Tabone took, a $25,000 cash bribe to permit Smith to run for New York City Mayor as a Republican. Smith and Tabone were not alone in this scheme – Smith also bribed Daniel Halloran, another Republican Party official.”
Smith was once one of the state’s top Democrats.
The charges arose from an undercover investigation of three distinct but related bribery schemes involving public corruption. In the first scheme, Smith arranged for cash bribes totaling $40,000 to be paid to Vincent Tabone and Joseph Savino, two New York City Republican county leaders, as part of an effort by Smith to appear on the Republican primary ballot as a mayoral candidate in the 2013 election.
Halloran received approximately $20,500 in cash bribes to act as an intermediary with Tabone and Savino on Smith’s behalf. In the second scheme, Halloran received approximately $18,300 in cash bribes and $6,500 in straw donor campaign contribution checks in exchange for agreeing to steer up to $80,000 of New York City Council discretionary funding to a company he believed was controlled by those who paid him the bribes.
Under New York State law, a person seeking to run for a citywide position in New York City may not have his or her name listed as a candidate on the ballot if he or she is not a registered member of the party having the primary contest unless he or she receives the approval of at least three of the five chairmen of the county committees for that party. The approval is given in the form of what are known as Wilson Pakula certificates, which are signed by the approving chairmen.