Prosecutors: At Least 6 Other Elected Officials Under Investigation

4:10 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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By Jon Campbell, Albany Bureau

ALBANY, NY--- A federal judge has ordered the release of a document that would reveal those who spoke to ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley while she wore a wire, but prosecutors say eight of the nine people remain under criminal investigation and shouldn't be outed.

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein on Tuesday said a sentencing memo containing the names of the recorded would be unsealed at 2 p.m. Wednesday unless the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's office appeals the decision and receives an extended stay.

Reporters from various news organizations wrote a letter to Weinstein asking for the document to be released, arguing that it wouldn't impact any ongoing investigations because the subjects now know they were likely recorded.

But the U.S. Attorney's office said eight people who spoke to Huntley are under investigation and releasing their names could compromise the effort.

That means either six or seven elected officials are under investigation. Seven of the nine who were secretly recorded by Huntley were elected to their office, including one sitting state senator, according to a prosecutor's memo filed Friday.

"The defendant recorded meetings with eight individuals who remain under investigation and have not been publicly identified," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Spector, Paul Tuchmann and Alexander Soloman wrote to Weinstein on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office said the prosecutors were considering their legal options Tuesday evening.

In his decision, Weinstein said he was unconvinced that revealing the names of those recorded would impede any investigations.

"Every legislator who has conversed with this defendant (Huntley) will necessarily assume that he or she was recorded under the supervision of the FBI," Weinstein wrote. "There will be no surprises to the potentially accused by the revelations of their names."

He was also unswayed by the argument that releasing the names of the officials under investigation could deter good people from entering public office.

"To paraphrase President Harry Truman, 'those who cannot stand the heat should stay out of the kitchen,'" Weinstein wrote. "Decent public servants can stand the heat."

Huntley, who pleaded guilty to felony charges earlier this year for her role in a corruption scheme and a subsequent coverup, faces up to two years in prison and is due for sentencing Thursday. She was voted out of office last year.

Earlier this week, Sen. John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, was arraigned on federal embezzlement charges. In April, Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx, were hit with bribery charges in separate alleged schemes. On Friday, Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland -- who was already facing corruption charges -- was charged with using non-profit funds for personal gain.

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