A Manhattan assemblywoman is out of office after pleading guilty to a pair of federal charges in a case that being called public corruption, though perhaps not the same type New Yorkers come to expect out of Albany. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
She called it the American dream when she was elected to the state Assembly. Now, Gabriela Rosa is an ex-Assemblywoman after her conviction on an unexpected pair of federal charges.
"What I did is wrong, and anybody that do something like that is wrong," Rosa said. "But all I'm saying is, I am not the first one. I think certainly, I'm not going to be the last one."
Rosa admitted she married for immigration papers. She also said a decade later, she didn't include the income of her current husband in a bankruptcy.
Prosecutors are demanding as much as a year and a half behind bars.
"Gabriela Rosa's crimes cut to the heart of her legal qualification to serve the people of the State of New York as a New York State Assemblywoman," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "She gained the ability to run for that office only as a result of a years-long immigration fraud, and then she compounded her lack of fitness to serve by defrauding a federal bankruptcy court."
Rosa was about to end her first term, elected to a seat once held by Adriano Espaillat. Like him, she came from the Dominican Republic, working retail in a clothes shop before entering politics.
Prosecutors called her crime a matter of public corruption. Well aware of the bad behavior of former colleagues, Rosa strongly disagreed, and she said this points to the need for changes to federal immigration law.
"I didn't get rich out of my position. I didn't take any bribes. I didn't do none of the things that usually, you are very used to seeing in the other guys that get into this situation," Rosa said.
As for the American dream, she insisted it still came true. Rosa isn't taking it back.
"I don't feel ashamed that I became an elected official, because I think that becoming an elected official was a way for me to pay back," she said.
Rosa is to be sentenced on October 3. Her attorney said she is not at risk of being deported.