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Queens Voters Show Disbelief At Arrests Of Senator Smith, Councilman Halloran

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Constituents in the Queens districts of state Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran were largely shocked and surprised to learn Tuesday that the lawmakers were arrested on federal corruption charges, and many thought the legislators are innocent.

Smith's office in the Hollis section of Queens was closed and locked Tuesday, but several people still stopped by to show support for the embattled legislator, who has served the area since 2000.

Several employees were seen entering the office Tuesday, but they would not speak to the media and no one in the office would answer the phone.

Across Smith's district, which also covers the neighborhoods of Jamaica, St. Albans and Queens Village, voters were divided over whether they thought the state senator set up with Halloran an alleged scheme to secure a Republican nomination for this year's mayoral race.

"Until we get all the facts, we're not going to scrutinize him, we're not going to belittle him. There are many politicians that have come from New York City that have dirtier backgrounds than maybe he has or maybe he hasn't," said one supporter. "We have to get the facts. Everyone is entitled to a fair hearing."

"I know he's innocent. I know he would do nothing like this. This is not Malcolm, this is not how he gets down," said another supporter. "I know him, I know him from being out here in the parks and the youth programs."

"I don't believe it. There's two sides to every story and then there's the truth," said a third supporter. "He's a good guy, and whatever he's going through I hope he gets out of it very soon."

In other parts of his district, the news came as a disappointment to many.

"It's a pretty bad situation," said one person. "It's kind of sad that he got caught."

"I'm not really shocked," said another. "It's not something new that has happened. But I just hope that we could elect the right people who can go and do a honest day's job."

Smith, who lives in Jamaica, entered politics as an aide to then-Rep. Floyd Flake, before he was elected to the senate in a special election.

In 2009, Smith served as the temporary president and majority leader of the state Senate, before he was removed from his position when several senate Democrats switched allegiance to form a coalition government and to give Republicans the majority .

Smith ran unopposed when he won re-election last year.

Meanwhile, in Halloran's council district, some constituents learned of the arrest while stopping by the councilman's office for services.

Supporters told NY1 they could not believe that Halloran, who was first elected in 2009, was involved in corruption.

"Councilman Halloran is innocent until proven guilty. I just was very shocked," said a voter.

"I've known Dan for a while, he's a very reputable person in my mind. If the allegations are true, I feel very bad for him and his family and for the members working in the office here," said another voter. "But it's a concern to me."

Halloran is one of four Republicans in the City Council and a Theodist, belonging to a sect of paganism.

Last year, the councilman underwent brain surgery and ran an unsuccessful bid for the House of Representatives, losing to then-Assemblywoman Grace Meng.

Halloran launched his re-election campaign in February.

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