2015-03-11 / Front Page

Ten Years For Halloran In Foiled Ballot Bribe Scam

BY LIZ GOFF

Former Councilmember Daniel Halloran.Former Councilmember Daniel Halloran.

Disgraced former Councilmember Dan Halloran was sentenced last week to 10-years in prison for masterminding a scheme to help former State Sen. Malcom Smith buy his way onto the 2013 mayoral ballot.

Halloran and Smith were two of six people arrested in April 2012 in the illegal bribery scheme. Halloran, a two-term councilmember and rising star in the GOP, was charged wit Smith in a federal indictment for allegedly plotting to bribe Republican Party officials to get Smith on the GOPs 2013 primary ballot.

Halloran, an attorney, former prosecutor and self-described pagan, was first elected to the City Council in 2009, to represent neighborhoods in eastern Queens.

The indictment charged that Smith, a democrat, allegedly sought help from Halloran, a conservative Republican, to get his name on the Republican Party primary. As a Democrat, Smith, under current law, needed Republican Party support in at least three boroughs to run as a Republican candidate without changing his party affiliation,.

Prosecutors charge that Smith, in an attempt to gather that support, asked Halloran to schedule meetings with Republican Party leaders and negotiate thousands of dollars in bribes. Meanwhile, Halloran pocketed thousands of dollars of the bribe money, prosecutors said.

Former Queens GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone and Spring Valley MayorNoramie Jasmin have both pleaded not guilty to charges included in the federal indictment. Former Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, who was also charged in the sting, pleaded guilty to charges that he accepted approximately $10,500 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a messenger in the bribery plot.

Smith and Tabone were convicted in February on the charges. Both men are awaiting sentencing scheduled for July 1.

A federal jury last July convicted Halloran of five counts of bribery, two counts of wire fraud and racketeering. Prior to the start of his trial, Halloran’s legal team failed in a bid to enter an insanity plea for their client, saying Halloran has suffered from the illness since he underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2012.

Halloran stood stone-faced att his sentencing in White Plains Federal Court o March 4, where Federal District Court Judge Kenneth Karas blasted the disgraced lawmaker saying, “For six days he (Halloran) lied on the stand. It was egregious.”

“There was overwhelming evidence of his guilt. I saw him squirm and look uncomfortable on the stand. He lied and lied repeatedly,” Karas said. “It was grotesque and offensive.”

Karan imposed a sentence longer than the eight-years recommended by the U.S. Probation Office and less than the 12-to 15-year sent3nce sought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“When a public official takes cash like that, in a car, in an envelope, it’s so troubling, it’s shady,” Karas said, referring to how federal agents caught Halloran red-handed taking bribes.

Halloran was hoping to avoid jail time by being sentenced to home confinement. He had recently expressed interest in pursuing a career as a scuba instructor after he completed a term of home confinement.

Defense attorney Jonathan Edelstein told reporters Halloran “is worth so much more than the few bad choices he made, saying that they plan to appeal the sentencing.

“This was a very serious crime,” Karas said at the sentencing. “It causes us all to be cynical about our leaders. It causes us to doubt that our leaders are looking out for us.”

 

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