New York state Senator Malcolm A. Smith faces bribery and wire-fraud charges in federal court in White Plains, New York where his trial started Friday.
Smith’s meetings in 2012 with property developer Moses Stern were secretly recorded and caught alleged payoffs to the politician of $12,000 and $15,000.
Stern and Smith were planning to spread campaign contributions to Smith’s Senate colleagues facing difficult primaries, the New York Times reported on Friday.
“Remind the senators that this is coming from Malcolm,” was how a government witness, an undercover agent who gave his name as Anil Modi, described Smith’s plan.
Smith also told his undercover sources that he wanted to be mayor of New York City and felt he could run on a “fusion ticket”— running on the Republican ticket but with a Democrat’s record — and win, particularly if he had the experience of having served as Senate majority leader.
Stern claimed he was trying to entrap a Smith to win leniency for himself because he was facing charges of bank fraud at the time, stemming from $126 million he received from Citigroup.
In March, Stern pleaded guilty to undisclosed charges.
Smith’s lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel, told the jury Friday in his opening statement to remember that, for a case about bribery, “not one dollar was placed in the pocket of Malcolm Smith.”
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.