Ex-sen­a­tor’s con­vic­tion, prison sen­tence up­held

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS -

A for­mer New York state sen­a­tor was prop­erly con­victed and sen­tenced to seven years in prison, an ap­peals court said Thurs­day.

The 2nd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Man­hat­tan re­jected the ar­gu­ments of Malcolm Smith nearly two years after the Demo­crat was con­victed of try­ing to pay off lo­cal Repub­li­can lead­ers so he could join the GOP bal­lot line in the 2013 New York City may­oral race. He was sen­tenced in July 2015 after his con­vic­tion on con­spir­acy, bribery and other charges. He is sched­uled to be re­leased in De­cem­ber 2021.

Smith, 60, was in the state Se­nate for over a decade be­fore his 2013 ar­rest. Prose­cu­tors said Smith au­tho­rized about $200,000 in bribes to se­cure Repub­li­can lead­ers’ back­ing to avoid a crowded Demo­cratic pri­mary and run on the GOP line.

The con­vic­tion of a for­mer Queens Repub­li­can party vice

chair­man also was up­held.

On ap­peal, Smith ar­gued that ev­i­dence was in­suf­fi­cient and that New York bribery laws and an hon­est ser­vices statute were un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally vague.

The ap­peals court re­jected Smith’s ef­fort to base his chal­lenge to his con­vic­tion in part on a re­cent U.S. Supreme

Court de­ci­sion re­vers­ing the pub­lic cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion of for­mer Vir­ginia Repub­li­can Gov. Bob McDon­nell.

Smith ar­gued that jury in­struc­tions, like in the McDon­nell case, failed to de­fine specif­i­cally for jurors the con­tours of an “of­fi­cial act” by a politi­cian that would con­sti­tute a crime.

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