News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Tues. Sept. 9, 2014: Both are facing legal woes but two New York-born, Caribbean-American state senators are looking past that and ahead, to maintaining their political seats today.
In Queens, NY, Senator Malcolm Smith, (D-Hollis), who has Jamaican roots, survived barely when his trial for bribery and wire fraud ended in a mistrial earlier this year.
Today he faces a political fight for his Senate seat in the Democratic Primary, from a fellow Jamaican American and former City Councilman Leroy Comrie along with attorney lawyer Munir Avery.
Smith has represented the 14th District in Queens, home to many Caribbean Americans, for more than a decade and is hoping that history will sway voters.
He was indicted for allegedly offering bribes to get Republicans to allow him to run for mayor on the GOP line in 2013. His new trial starts in January.
In Brooklyn, NY, Senator John Sampson, a Guyanese-American, has been indicted for stealing $400,000 from victims of foreclosure to fund a previous campaign for District Attorney and using his Senate seat to try to influence $88,000 worth of tax credits for a liquor store he secretly owned.
But he’s confident he’ll keep his 19th District Senate seat today even though his challengers, union coordinator Dell Smitherman and Sean Henry. Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio are on the Smitherman team as he hopes to deliver a TKO to Sampson in the contest today.
Mayor de Blasio made a last-minute push for Smitherman on Sunday, calling him a “true ally” who can help further City Hall’s agenda in Albany.
“He is the kind of person to go to Albany and make the changes that we need and certainly that my administration needs to succeed, so I’m here to ask you to help me take that next step in Albany,” de Blasio told congregants at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. “I cannot do it alone—I guarantee you that. I need leaders there who feel what we all feel about the changes we need to make.”
Meanwhile, Sampson’s legal troubles are mounting. His former top aide, Melvin Lowe, recently admitted during confidential meetings with prosecutors that he defrauded the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee out of $100,000 – and gave $75,000 of the money to “Senator #1,” the filing says. A source said “Senator #1” is Lowe’s ex-boss, Sampson (D-Brooklyn), who is fighting charges that he, himself, also committed fraud and tax crimes.
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