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Malcolm Smith Found Guilty In 2013 NYC Mayoral Election Bribery Scheme

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) --  Former state Sen. Malcolm Smith has been convicted of scheming to bribe his way onto the ballot in the 2013 New York City mayoral election.

A federal jury found Smith guilty on Thursday of four charges, including bribery conspiracy, wire fraud, use of interstate facilities to commit bribery and extortion.

A codefendant, former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone was also convicted of four charges. They are bribery conspiracy, wire fraud, use of interstate facilities to commit bribery, and obstruction.

"As the jury unanimously found, the give-and-take of the political process should not be the giving and taking of bribes, which is what Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone tried to make it. Smith gave, and Tabone took, a $25,000 cash bribe to permit Smith to run for New York City Mayor as a Republican.  Smith and Tabone were not alone in this scheme – Smith also bribed Daniel Halloran, another Republican Party official," said  Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "And sadly, this was just one of many pockets of corruption this Office has uncovered in New York, which has become the 'show me the money' state.  It should not be asking too much to expect public officials at least to obey the law.  This Office will continue the vigorous prosecution of political corruption until every public official understands that violating the public trust will likely land you in prison."

Smith authorized "envelopes stuffed with cash" -- up to $25,000 -- to buy his way into the 2013 New York City mayoral election, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the Queens Democrat paid bribes to get permission from Republican leaders to run on the GOP line, believing it would help his chances at winning City Hall.

Smith's lawyer argued his client was entrapped. He said the government "invented a crime and lured Malcolm Smith into it." He said Smith was guilty of a bad decision but not a crime.

Prosecutors said Tabone took a $25,000 bribe. Tabone's lawyer said the money was for legitimate political consulting work.

In June, a judge declared a mistrial in Smith's and Tabone's case after some evidence was withheld from the defense.

A third defendant in that trial, former New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, did not want the mistrial and elected to move forward with his trial. He was convicted in July on bribery charges.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 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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