On Oct. 22, 2009, a day when Brownsville Assemb. William F. Boyland Jr. billed taxpayers per diem travel expenses for legislative work in Albany, he also emailed two friends, according to testimony at his federal corruption trial in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
"In Istanbul, the sun just came up and the 1st prayer of the day was an experience," he told one of the friends.
The other, former chief of staff Ryan Hermon, got a picture of a beaming Boyland posing in front of the azure blue water of the Sea of Marmara. "Our group on the mar mar ocean, its sexy," he wrote.
Prosecutors contend the trip to Turkey was one of dozens of instances where Boyland, 43, a six-term Democrat also charged with bribe-taking and siphoning money from a nonprofit, lied on his expenses to collect $161 per diems and mileage to Albany.
FBI agent Vanessa Tibbits testified that Assembly attendance and legislative swipe-card usage reports, along with Boyland's E-ZPass, bank and email records, indicated that from 2007 until 2011 he lied 59 percent of the time when he claimed to be in Albany.
She said he requested reimbursement for 969 days, but the records indicated he was elsewhere on 574 of these days. He received $152,955.02 in taxpayer dollars but wasn't entitled to $71,339.66 of the total.
In addition to the trip to Turkey, Tibbits testified, records showed that Boyland was discussing bribes with two undercover FBI agents at New York City restaurants on some of the days he claimed to be in Albany.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Thursday.