NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. was convicted Thursday in a federal bribery case.
The Brooklyn Democrat was accused of accepting bribes from a carnival promoter and two undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town real estate investors.
Boyland represented District 55, which comprises Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Bushwick.
The verdict came after prosecutors presented a case built on hours of audio and video recordings and the testimony of Boyland’s former chief of staff, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges and testified on behalf of the government.
According to prosecutors, Boyland first came under scrutiny in 2010 when he accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to help a carnival promoter obtain permits and leases.
At the direction of the FBI, the promoter introduced the assemblyman to the undercover agents.
During a meeting in an Atlantic City hotel room in 2011, the lawmaker was caught on tape offering to arrange a deal for the phony businessmen to buy a hospital in his district at a discount and secure state funds for a renovation in exchange for $250,000.
After one of the agents told Boyland not to “be bashful” in naming his price, the lawmaker said, “Two fifty.”
In another video, Boyland could be seen taking the agents on a tour of his district and boasting, “I control all this.”
The former chief of staff testified she helped him use $50,000 in state funds meant for a nonprofit to throw a 2008 party for elderly voters that featured a James Brown impersonator. The funds also were used to pay for T-shirts with the slogan “Team Boyland,” she said.
Boyland didn’t dispute that he drank and dined with the undercovers during meetings at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn and the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City. But his lawyers said his only offense was making empty promises.
The lawmaker had previously backed out of a scheduled plea deal that would have given him a prison sentence of approximately nine years in exchange for pleading guilty to charges of fraud, extortion and theft.
In 2011, a Manhattan jury found Boyland not guilty to charges alleging he accepted money as a consultant in return for his influence on behalf of a health care group.
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