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Feds: Disgraced state senator recorded colleagues

Saturday, May 04, 2013 - Updated: 3:30 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- For the second time in two months, federal prosecutors have revealed that a New York state lawmaker snared in a criminal probe tried to earn lenient treatment by secretly recording other elected officials for the FBI.

In court papers filed Friday, prosecutors said former state Sen. Shirley Huntley, a Queens Democrat, made numerous recordings of her meetings over several months last year after she was herself caught on an incriminating wiretap.

Nine different people were subjects of the surveillance -- seven elected officials and two people who had previously worked for politicians.

The legal memorandum said recordings with three of those officials, including another state senator, "did yield evidence useful to law enforcement."

Prosecutors didn't specify what that evidence was or name the officials involved. They told the judge that the details of the recordings would be discussed in a separate letter, filed under seal.

The revelation comes roughly a month after state Assemblyman Nelson Castro, a Bronx Democrat, resigned after admitting that he made similar recordings of colleagues for federal investigators after they told him he would be charged with perjury in yet another corruption investigation.

His cooperation ultimately helped lead to the indictment of a fellow assemblyman from the Bronx, Eric Stevenson, who has been accused of accepting bribes in exchange for legislation that gave a competitive advantage to a business in his district. Stevenson has denied the allegations.

Huntley's lawyer, Sally Butler, didn't immediately return phone or email messages Friday. A person who answered the phone at her law office said she wasn't interested in commenting.

Huntley is scheduled to be sentenced May 9 after pleading guilty to mail fraud conspiracy last winter. She admitted embezzling nearly $88,000 from a state-funded nonprofit group she controlled. Prosecutors said she also accepted a $1,000 payment from a businessman who was trying to get the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to lease him more space at Kennedy Airport.

Despite Huntley's agreement to help the government, prosecutors said in the sentencing memorandum filed Friday that they decided not to enter into a formal cooperation agreement with her because she repeatedly lied about her own crimes.

     

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