Two more powerful Albany politicians were convicted this week, the latest sign that federal prosecutors’ vow to clean up corruption in New York state’s capital continues apace.
And to show that the effort is bipartisan, one was a Democrat, the other a Republican.
On Friday,John Sampson, a Democrat who has represented southeastern Brooklyn for nearly two decades, was found guilty of lying to FBI agents who were investigating him for embezzlement.
There were nine counts against him and he was acquitted of six.
The three felonies a federal jury in Brooklyn nailed him on were of one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements, including lying about a secret stake he held in a liquor store.
After his conviction, this message appeared on his taxpayer-funded government website: “This Senator is currently inactive, and this content is provided to you as an archive.” Felony convictions mean immediate expulsion from office.
The verdict showed that the jury agreed that the defendant has an “utter disregard for the rule of law and criminal justice system,” acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said outside court.
Defense Attorney Nathaniel Akerman vowed an appeal.The actual embezzlement chargeswere tossed and has been the case time and again in corruption trials, the lies are what sank.
Sampson, 50, wasSenate Democratic leader from 2009 through 2013.
He and ex-Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) held court in Albany’s upper house when the Dems were led them majority in 2009-10.
Smith was convicted on fraud and bribery chargesearly this year and sentenced to seven years.
The other pol sacked this week was RepublicanSen. Thomas Libous of Binghamton, who was currently the senate’s second-ranking Republican.
He, like Sampson, in the end went down for lying to the FBI. And, like Sampson, the felony finding means he’s gone from the state capital.
The 62-year-old had been accuseed of trying to use his government power to get his son a job,
The charge is similar to the one leveled against former senate majority leader Dean Skelos, of Long Island, who lost his title but is still in the legislature awaiting trial.
Libous could get five years when sentenced Oct. 30; no sentencing has been set for Sampson.
Libous’ conviction came Wednesday in White Plains federal court.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara brought the case against Libous and is the same prosecutor who won the indictment of Skelos and his Democratic counterpart in the state Assembly, former Speaker Sheldon Silver, of Manhattan.
“Public corruption is a scourge,” Bharara said in a statement. “But lies to law enforcement make the job of fighting corruption doubly difficult.”
“Libous’s lies have been exposed, his crime has been proven, and Albany will be the better for it.”