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Politicians in bribe case different as oil and water, but money and greed brought them together: Prosecutors

Posted at 8:23 PM, Apr 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-02 20:27:27-04

WHITE PLAINS (PIX11) — In a courtroom where the capacity was standing room only, New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, New York City Councilman Dan Halloran and four other defendants faced a judge for the first time Tuesday afternoon, after having been arrested by FBI agents hours before.

Smith and Halloran, the two main defendants in the corruption case for which they were arrested, are both memorable political personalities from Queens.  That, however, is where their similarities end, making it all the more remarkable that they were involved together in a political scandal, according to prosecutors.

Smith, a Democrat, is known for being a sharply dressed, churchgoing, former State Senate majority leader who’s been outspoken on gun control issues.  “My main priority,” he said in an interview on PIX11 News Closeup with Marvin Scott last year, “is to get these guns off the street.”

Smith participated with PIX11 News last year in the largest gun buyback program in New York City history.  By contrast,  Halloran is a noted gun rights advocate.

Halloran was a vocal advocate for three different out-of-towners who were arrested by the NYPD when they brought guns that were legal in their home states into New York City, where they’re illegal.

The Republican City Council member is accused of taking bribes from Smith in order to win the Democratic state senator approval from GOP county chairmen. That would have cleared the way for Smith to run for New York City mayor as a Republican

How did Halloran and Smith, such different people politically, end up involved in what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called an “uanappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed”?  The criminal complaint Bharara filed against them points to the motives of political corruption:  money and power.

Smith, according to prosecutors, desperately wanted power, and Halloran was desperate for money, in exchange for which he promised Smith he would fulfill his power drive.

Along with the two Queens elected officials, FBI agents also arrested Queens GOP Chairman Vincent Tabone and Bronx GOP Chairman Joseph “Jay” Savino.  The mayor of Spring Valley, in Rockland County, Noramie Jasmin, and her deputy mayor, Joseph Desmaret, were also arrested in a real estate development scheme related to Smith’s bribery case.

All six defendants were released on $250,000 bail, and have their next court appearances on April 23rd.