Preet Bharara Going After Troubled Pols' Pensions

4:01 PM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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By Jon Campbell, Gannett Albany

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said his office is going after the pensions of state lawmakers charged with a crime, filing court papers that seek to have them held by the federal government if the politicians are convicted.

WEB EXTRA:  Read Bharara's Testimony here  (

Bharara, who has jurisdiction over New York's southern district, revealed his plan to target pensions during testimony in front of the state Moreland Commission, a panel of mostly district attorneys tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to root out public corruption.

"In pending and future cases, to the extent any public official has a pension interest that accrued while engaging in criminal conduct, we will use federal forfeiture law to claw back an appropriate dollar amount commensurate with that pension where appropriate," Bharara said.

According to his testimony, Bharara's office filed paperwork Tuesday in the corruption cases against Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx, signaling their intent to go after their retirement money.

Bharara's remarks came during the Moreland Commission's first public hearing in New York City. A second hearing is slated for today in Buffalo, with a third coming Tuesday in suburban Albany.

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