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State Sen. John Sampson Charged With Embezzlement, Lying To FBI

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was shame and scandal Monday for state Sen. John Sampson, once considered one of the most powerful men in Albany.

Sampson, 47, faces embezzlement charges for allegedly swindling nearly $500,000.

EXTRA: Read The Full Indictment

He's the latest in a long line of politicians making a circus out of Albany, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported.

Sen. John Sampson Charged With Embezzlement, Lying To FBI

Talk about hypocrisy. The Brooklyn state senator who was indicted Monday allegedly got caught embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, so he could run for district attorney. He allegedly wanted to be the top law enforcement official in Brooklyn.

Sampson remained stoned-face under questioning from CBS 2's Kramer after entering a plea of not guilty to charges of embezzlement and obstruction of justice. The former head of both the Ethics Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, Sampson reportedly embezzled $440,000 to fund a failed campaign for Brooklyn district attorney in 2005.

"I think it illustrates the fact that, as least as far as John Sampson was concerned, it's all about him. His oath as a lawyer; his oath as a state senator; his position on either the Judiciary or Senate Ethics Committee in no way impacts how he does business," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said. "If there's money out there and he feels there's a need for it, he will rationalize it and justify it."

Sen. John Sampson Charged With Embezzlement, Lying To FBI

Sampson was also charged with witness tampering, trying to get a employees of the U.S. Attorney's Office to tell him the names of witnesses against him. Lynch said Sampson was, "going so far as to say that if he were to learn about cooperators he could arrange to take them out."

The head of the New York FBI office talked about the recent spate of corruption cases in New York City in the state.

"When you start to tally up the number of elected officials who have been treating encumbered seats like the keys to the treasury, it is clear that too many of them are self-serving and not serving the public," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said.

Outside court, Zachary Carter, the senator's lawyer, tried to argue that Sampson wasn't being accused of public corruption because he wasn't charged with using his Senate office, per se.

"No charges in connection with that scenario were filed in connection with this indictment," Carter said.

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