Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Now Tom Robbins has weighed in with a piece on Steve Levy that is rich in context and history and also brings up the ticklish issue of those famous sealed wiretap transcripts in the corruption prosecution of Wayne Prospect and Steve Baranello -- Levy's former advisers. Levy tells Robbins he doesn't think they should be released. Some have been, and rival Rick Lazio quoted them in all their 'eff'ing glory, and Levy has explained them away as just using curse words too much and passionately speaking against the old line of patronage. The sealed portion has been a holy grail for Levy detractors for years, with only unconfirmed rumors about what's in them.

In turn, Lazio is following up with this statement. All text from here to the end of the posting is text of Lazio-released material:

"Lazio 2010 Campaign Manager Kevin Fullington sent a letter to Steve Levy today in response to a Village Voice article about Levy's opposition to releasing sealed wiretap transcripts that show Levy talking to convicted felons. The content of the letter is below:

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                                       April 7, 2010
Dear Steve:
 
People are suspicious about politicians who are not transparent and they have a right to be. New York State government is dysfunctional.  We have had a series of political leaders who have brought shame and embarrassment to themselves and our State.
 
You have an obligation to call for the release of State wiretap tapes that have you speaking to convicted felons who were your campaign operatives and advisors.  If they are not made public people will wonder what you are hiding, why you are hiding and draw conclusions that will have terrible repercussions for you and your campaign.  And it should.
 
If you truly want to be different and show the people and the press that you are not an Eliot Spitzer Democrat (the last Democratic Governor you supported) than have the tapes released. Do it and do it today or suffer the consequences from the voters of this State.
 
Sincerely,
 
Kevin Fullington
Campaign Manager, Lazio 2010

The Facts:
 
Steve Levy’s allies Wayne Prospect and Steve Baranello were arrested for bribery: A few months after his election as county executive in 2003, his closest adviser was arrested in a bribery sting. Steve Baranello and another Levy ally, Wayne Prospect, were charged with trying to sell access to his administration. Baranello pled guilty and testified against Prospect. (Village Voice, 4/6/10)
 
Levy was wiretapped talking to Baranello and Prospect: The trickier part, however, was that District Attorney Thomas Spota's office collected thousands of hours of wiretap recordings during the probe. Most have never been released. Levy admits he was alerted, as the law requires, that he was recorded. "Oh yeah, 3,000 people were on those tapes." Had he ever heard them? "It's not allowed. They're all sealed." Was he worried about them surfacing? "Well, we already saw some of it," he said. (Village Voice, 4/6/10)
                Note: The unsealed transcript can be found by clicking here:
www.drop.io/levyontape
 
Levy opposes the release of the sealed wiretap transcripts: Still, Levy insisted the tapes shouldn't be released, as some media outlets are currently seeking under freedom of information requests. He has studied up on the issue. "Look, the law is quite clear that innocent third parties are protected from that kind of stuff," he said. "The case law is very, very clear on it." (Village Voice, 4/6/10)