Mistrial declared Tuesday in the corruption case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith

This article originally appeared in The Daily News.
BY NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 12:20 PM
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiRICHARD HARBUS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWSState Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens will face another trial in January.

WHITE PLAINS — A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the corruption case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith and a Queens GOP boss due to untranslated Yiddish recordings only recently disclosed by prosecutors.

But the trial of ex-City Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Queens, will go forward under a ruling by federal Judge Kenneth Karas on Tuesday.

Karas declared a mistrial in the case against Smith and ex-Queens GOP boss Vincent Tabone, with a new trial set to begin again in January. That moves the trial past election day for Smith.

Halloran, meanwhile, asked to press on after Karas was able to get enough jurors to agree to continue his trial. Because the trial is down to one defendant, it likely won’t extend past the expected June 20 end date.

For Smith and Tarbone, a new jury will have to be assembled and the same witnesses that have paraded through White Plains federal court since June 2 will convene again for January’s trial.

Smith, Tabone and Halloran are charged in a bribery scheme to put Smith, a lifelong Democrat, on the mayoral ballot as a Republican.

Last week prosecutors in Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office disclosed they had yet to release some thousands of hours of conversations recorded by their star informant, Moses Stern.

All told there were 93 hours of conversation recorded in the case, of which 20% were turned over to the defendants. Of the remaining 74 hours, 28 are apparently in Yiddish.

Prosecutors say the undisclosed records are irrelevant to the case, but defense attorneys moved for a mistrial, saying it was not up to feds to make that determination.

Karas on Tuesday asked each of the 12 jurors and three alternates whether they could stay past the expected end date of June 20 while the recordings are translated and turned over to the defense.

Prosecutors allege Smith signed off on a plan to pay some $80,000 in bribes to Halloran, Tabone and Bronx GOP boss Jay Savino to put Smith on the mayoral ballot as a Republican.

Stern posed as a corrupt businessman, teaming up with an undercover FBI agent to make the sting. But prosecutors decided not to call Stern as a witness due to his history of committing fraud.

That meant they had to rely entirely on the secretly recorded tapes. Prosecutors are required to turn over any evidence that could aid a defense, and lawyers for Smith, Halloran and Tabone said the undisclosed conversations could help them gain acquittal.

Smith is on the ballot seeking re-election. He’s raised almost no money since his indictment in April 2013.

Author: sabrinacaserta

Sabrina Caserta, born and bred in Bronx, New York, is a freelance reporter whose work has appeared in the New York Daily News and Street Sense- a homeless-run street paper located in the District. As a member of Roger Williams University’s class of 2016, Sabrina studied Journalism and Political Science. This fueled her passion for social justice reporting, including issues of homelessness, institutionalized racism, poverty, education and the environment. She also served as the Project Director of the nation-brand initiative, The Re:Imagine Jamaica Project, and as a Resident Assistant for three years. As an avid reader, health enthusiast and travel addict, Sabrina enjoys yoga, cooking and writing in her spare time. She aspires to one day be an investigative journalist and travel the world. Twitter: @sabrinacaserta Email: sabcaserta AT gmail DOT com

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