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Mistrial Declared in Queens Senator's Corruption Case

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The bribery and corruption trial involving state Senator Malcolm Smith ended in a mistrial Tuesday, but not for all of the defendants in the case. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Prosecutors believed tapes told the story: Queens state Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democrat caught on hidden camera allegedly scheming to bribe his way onto the Republican ballot for mayor.

On Tuesday, though, the judge in Smith's case declared a mistrial and scheduled a new trial for January. The same goes for former Queens Republican Party official Vincent Tabone, caught on camera allegedly on the receiving end of a bribe.

"I always wanted my day in court," Tabone said. "So in some sense, I'm not relieved. I would have rather moved forward."

The reason for the mistrial was some 70 hours of conversation involving government informant Moses Stern, almost one-third of it in Yiddish, that was turned over to defense attorneys just last week.

With time being given to the defense to review the tapes, the trial, which was supposed to last just two weeks, could have stretched into mid-July, and that created scheduling issues, including for four jurors, who told the judge they had conflicts.

"The matter is now resolved," said Gerald Shargel, Smith's attorney. "We have the tapes, and we have the Yiddish translations that we've been working so hard on, and, you know, we're ready to go forward."

The trial will continue for former Queens City Councilman Dan Halloran, an alleged intermediary in the bribery scheme. With his case severed from the others, the trial is expected to wrap up quickly.

"Hopefully, this trial will be over in a couple weeks, and we'll be speaking to you then, so that he can now go back to his life and go back to a life in the law, go back to a life in politics," said Vinoo Varghese, Halloran's attorney.

Smith, meanwhile, is now free to pursue his re-election campaign. He'll face a challenge from former City Councilman Leroy Comrie and others in the Democratic primary on September 9, about four months before he goes to trial again.

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