ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Former New York State Senator Shirley Huntley has pleaded guilty to a second felony charge stemming from a corruption investigation.
The Queens Democrat admitted to tampering with evidence and falsifying evidence in an effort to obstruct the investigation into a grant she sponsored for a nonprofit organization, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Huntley, 74, admitted in state court that she drafted a letter in 2011 used to create false backdated records of events never held by the Parent Workshop Inc. Those records were submitted in response to a subpoena from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Huntley’s niece and a former assistant are accused of improperly pocketing $29,950 from the sham nonprofit, officials said.
“It is unconscionable that an elected official would deliberately tamper with a law enforcement investigation into the theft of taxpayer dollars,” Schneiderman said. “Former Senator Huntley’s felony plea sends a strong message that those who abuse their positions to rip off taxpayers and tamper with investigations will be held accountable. My office’s partnership with the Comptroller is designed to combat such corruption, and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect every penny of taxpayer money during these challenging economic times.”
“Former Senator Huntley betrayed the trust of her constituents and her public duty,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. “State officials must be held to the highest standards.”
Theft and obstruction charges are still pending against Huntley’s co-defendants, Schneiderman said.
Prosecutors are recommending five years’ probation, noting she faces 18 to 24 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling nearly $88,000 from a program to help families navigate the city school system.
Huntley took office in 2007 and lost a re-election bid last year.
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