NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was an unusual plea for leniency Thursday from a former Brooklyn senator being sentenced on corruption charges. Carl Kruger told a judge he may have taken bribes, but he’s not as corrupt as other Albany politicians.
Did it work?
Well, it was an interesting ploy, but the judge didn’t buy it, instead sentencing Kruger to seven years, reported CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
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Kruger walked into federal court a broken man, admitting that he’d gone from chairing the New York State Senate Finance Committee, the very pinnacle of power in Albany, to a figure of public ridicule.
“I experience humiliation every day,” Kruger said in a memo seeking leniency for accepting more than $1 million worth of bribes in exchange for a cornucopia of political favors. “Once, I couldn’t walk into a local diner without patrons stopping to shake my hand; now, I get a smattering of stares and whispers.”
Court papers begging the judge to go easy on Kruger painted a picture of a man who was unwanted from birth. He was sold not once, but twice, a week after he was born. The second couple returned him in the same “cardboard box and blanket he arrived in,” his attorney, Ben Brafman, said.
“By accepting responsibility for his conduct Senator Kruger has confirmed his respect for the integrity of the judicial process,” Brafman added.
That what Kruger’s attorney said after his client pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, money prosecutors said financed a lavish and garish Mill Basin home that he shared with co-defendant and “intimate associate” Michael Tutrano.
Brafman argued for mercy, saying Kruger was not as corrupt as other Albany political Pooh-Bahs.
“This was not the average bribery/political corruption case in which a venal politician took bags of cash, vacations or other personal benefits in exchange for officials’ actions,” Brafman argued.
The attorney cited Kruger’s loyalty to his constituents and a lifetime of public service.
“Which although obviously flawed is still nevertheless quite extraordinary,” Brafman said.
What is also extraordinary is that Kruger is the third member of the once powerful Albany “gang of four,” the so-called “four amigos,” to run afoul of the law. Hiram Monserrate was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and Pedro Espada is on trial for embezzlement.
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