For the third day, former Queens City Councilman Dan Halloran took the stand at his own corruption trial, arguing he did not accept bribes in an elaborate corruption scheme. Halloran says thousands of dollars in cash he received was for legitimate work as a political consultant. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
WHITE PLAINS—Former Councilman Dan Halloran had a side job while he was at City Hall, as a political consultant.
That's why he says he accepted $15,000 in cash from an undercover FBI agent posing as an upstate real estate developer.
He was being paid to help get State Senator Malcolm Smith on the ballot to run for mayor.
"He was bringing people to the table arranging meetings. That's what a political consultant does," says Halloran's attorney, Vinoo Varghese.
That's not what federal prosecutors say.
They say Halloran was taking envelopes of cash from a government informant and undercover FBI agent as bribes—part of an elaborate scheme to pay off the city's Republican county chairs and secure the GOP line for Senator Smith in last year's mayor's race.
For the third day on Monday, Halloran was on the stand disputing that story line.
Halloran says he was merely acting as a political consultant for who he thought was a wealthy upstate developer.
He bragged to that so-called developer in an undercover video, claiming he was close with the GOP county leaders.
Undercover: "You've worked for them in the past, you trust them? There's not going to be..."
Halloran: "I have been to strip clubs with them, I saw them, you know what I mean, there's a, you know."
Undercover: "Well, that stuff is all fine as long as we can get them to move with us a little bit."
Halloran: "As long as they know there is a goal."
Undercover: "There is a goal."
Moments later they talk about payment. They go out to the car. Halloran gets an envelope of cash.
Halloran: "Thank you, brother. You are the man.
Undercover: "Here's uh, ten grand."
Halloran: "You're the man."
Halloran insists the payment was for political consulting and even reported that income to the city.
"He had reported that he had received other income, other than from his City Council," Varghese says.
His position listed on his 2012 disclosure forms: attorney.
This is already Halloran's third day on the stand and he has still not been cross-examined by the prosecution. He will be stepping back up on Tuesday.