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Former NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran Convicted Of Bribery

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran was convicted of bribery charges Tuesday, in another public corruption conviction for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Halloran was found guilty in a scheme to bribe Republican party leaders so state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, could run for the GOP line in the 2013 New York City mayoral race.

Former NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran Convicted Of Bribery

Halloran was also convicted of accepting payoffs from who he thought were developers who wanted him to send city money their way. The men were actually FBI informants.

Halloran admitted taking money but said he earned it for work as a political operative.

"They weren't bribes," Halloran's lawyer, Vinoo Varghese, told reporters Tuesday. "That's the bottom line."

Former NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran Convicted Of Bribery

Outside court, Halloran maintained his innocence and vowed to appeal.

"It is what it is," he told WCBS 880's Jim Smith. "I trust in the jury system, and I trust in our legal system. And that's why I'm hopeful that at second-circuit level, the law will actually get applied in a way that it was intended."

As CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, when Halloran – who had represented the 19th District in Queens – had very little to say when he was charged with taking a bribe in the case.

"Other than not guilty, nothing to say," Halloran said on April 23, 2013.

But the jury in his two-month corruption trial had a lot to say. They found him guilty of taking $20,000 to serve as a go-between with Republican leaders to get Smith the GOP mayoral nomination, as well as taking nearly $25,000 altogether in cash and illegal campaign contributions to steer $80,000 in City Council money to other bribery scheme players.

Halloran was on the witness stand for six days testifying in his own defense, but the jury deliberated less than two hours, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

"With today's verdict of guilty reached by an impartial and independent jury, the cleanup of corruption in New York continues in courtrooms," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "Dan Halloran was the lone defendant in the trial that just ended in his conviction, but he is unfortunately not alone in a crowded field of New York officials who are willing to sell out their offices for self-enrichment."

Halloran, 42, was elected to the City Council in 2009. After his indictment, he also got into a scrape amid reports that he dated two of his staffers – reportedly including a 23-year-old intern.

CBS 2's Kramer asked Halloran in April 2013 about dating his intern – a woman he described as an unpaid volunteer.

"There is no issue here. This is a friend for many, many years whom I've known long before I was a councilman and whose family I've known," he said at the time.

Halloran is set to be sentenced on Dec. 12. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Smith and former Queens Republican leader Vincent Tabone, who went on trial with Halloran last month, were granted a mistrial. New trials are coming for both.

Bharara, whose office was expected to try Sen. Smith before the end of the year, said he intends to investigate other public corruption cases.

"Our interest, above all other interests, is to make sure that the job is getting done, because we're the people doing that job," he said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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