Officials told CBS 2’s Kramer the mayoral race scandal consisted of three distinct but related bribe schemes.
First was the attempt by Smith to buy the GOP mayoral line.
He allegedly arranged for $40,000 to be paid to Bronx GOP Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP Assistant Chairman Vincent Tabone. Halloran reportedly received $20,500 in cash bribes to act as the intermediary with the political leaders.
In the second scheme, Halloran allegedly received $18,300 in cash bribes and $6,500 on straw donor contributions in exchange for steering an $80,000 City Council contract to a company he believed was controlled by one of those who paid him the bribes.
Halloran allegedly told a wired government informant, “You can’t do anything without the money … Money is what greases the wheels … good bad or indifferent,” CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“After statements like this and a string of other public corruption scandals we continue to expose, many may understandably fear that there is no vote that’s not for sale,” Bharara said.
The final scheme involved Noramie Jasmin, the mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County, and her deputy, Joseph Desmaret. They allegedly got financial benefits to approve a new road that was to benefit one of the reported bribe payers and Smith was to get hundreds of thousands in state money for the road.
“The criminal complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of greed involved six officials who together build a corridor of corruption,” Bharara said.
All six defendants were arraigned in court in White Plains on Tuesday afternoon and were each released on $250,000 bond. None of them spoke as they left the courthouse, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
Smith’s lawyer, Jerry Shargel, said his client plans to plead not guilty.
“I ask anyone reading this or reading about this to withhold judgment. We intend to enter a plea of not guilty,” Smith’s attorney told reporters. “The allegations in this complaint do not tell the full story. I think that there is much more to this story.”
Shargel declined to answer when asked if Smith would resign from the state Senate, but Smith has been removed from his leadership post because of the allegations, Diamond reported.
Political sources told Kramer the feds are looking to turn some of the defendants into government witnesses in order to catch bigger fish.
Smith and Halloran each face up to 45 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy. On Tuesday evening, Halloran was stripped of his committee assignments and money-allocating authority in the City Council, 1010 WINS learned.
Cuomo: The Allegations Are Very Serious
Reaction to the scandal came fast and furious Tuesday from top officials across New York City and the state, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The governor, who was in Buffalo, didn’t mince words when talking about the scandal that engulfed Sen. Smith.