Several Lawmakers Appear In Court On Corruption Charges

A flood of lawmakers were in court Friday, getting their cases ready to fight charges of corruption, including state Senator Malcolm Smith. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

State Senator Malcolm Smith used to float the idea of running for mayor.

By the time Smith heads to trial for bribery, there will be a new occupant at City Hall.

"My lawyer will be able to talk to you about all that," Smith said while leaving court Friday.

One by one, Smith, Councilman Dan Halloran and former Republican party officials filed into federal court in White Plains on Friday.

It was their first court appearance since being charged in a massive bribery scheme.

"Justice is going to take a long time to get, but once we get there, I am sure I will be very happy with the outcome," Halloran said.

They are accused of trying to fix this year's mayoral ballot, allegedly exchanging thousands of dollars in cash, so-called payoffs for Republican party officials to agree to put Smith, a Democrat, on the GOP line.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

In court on Friday, attorneys for both Smith and Halloran said they will make motions to dismiss some of the charges.

"I think the more we get into the legal issues here, and the facts and circumstances of the case, the more confident we are about the outcome," said Smith attorney Ross Kramer.

"What they're charging him with is not covered by the law," said Halloran attorney Vinoo Varghese.

An attorney for Vincent Tabone, a former vice chair of the Queens Republicans, said he also wants the charges dismissed. If not that, then Tabone wants a separate trial.

"These are multiple cases that should be separated," said Grant Lally, an attorney for Tabone.

These requests will take months, meaning the trial will not start until 2014.

When the case does head to trial, evidence will include undercover video and audio recordings, recordings that allegedly detail the selling off of City Hall.

Another Albany lawmaker, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, was also back in court on Friday.

He also faces bribery charges.

NY1 asked whether his case was part of a pattern of Albany corruption.

"I don't see that, no," Stevenson said. "I'm still trying to figure out my situation and my case."

Stevenson said he will fight the charges.

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