Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland was found not guilty Thursday on two counts of corruption in a case sparked by an alleged series of bribes involving a major health care network in the city. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report.
Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. is victorious.
“Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. It’s a great day,” said Boyland.
On Thursday, the Brooklyn politician beat a pair of charges that could have landed him behind bars for 25 years.
“It was a harrowing experience,” said Boyland, “something that I never thought would happen, but I’m thankful my team here was incredible. Thank God—we did a lot of praying. I told someone last night I don’t think there’s anything stronger or more powerful on this earth than a praying mother. My mother was incredible.”
"When you haven’t done anything wrong, they shouldn’t find anything wrong," said Ruby Boyland, the assemblyman’s mother.
Prosecutors had accused the 41-year-old Democrat of using his clout in Albany to benefit a city health care firm. It paid him $175,000 as a part-time consultant.
Boyland was charged with helping one of the company's properties, Jamaica Hospital, which is well outside his district, and keeping it under consideration to take over the struggling Mary Immaculate and St. John's hospitals in Queens.
The firm's CEO was already convicted in the case for attempted bribery, but though the trial spotlighted what critics deem loose ethics rules in Albany, there seemed to be no clear sign of a quid pro quo.
"There just wasn’t a case against him, and the jury saw it that way," said Richard Rosenberg, Boyland’s attorney.
That left U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara with a defeat in a high-profile trial.
In a statement he said, “We are disappointed by today’s acquittal of William Boyland Jr. but respect the jury’s verdict, and we remain absolutely committed to pursuing public corruption in Albany and elsewhere."
It was precisely that at the center of this case, which also saw the indictment of Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger and six others. He has pleaded not guilty.
Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio died in prison in January after pleading guilty in a related case.
As for Kruger, that case continues and is scheduled to go to trial in 2012.