Jurors hear Malcolm Smith discussing political strategy in secret recordings

Queens Senator Malcolm Smith arrives at U.S. District

Queens Senator Malcolm Smith arrives at U.S. District Court in White Plains for jury selection for his fraud and bribery trial on June 2, 2014 in White Plains. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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Jurors at the corruption trial of Queens state Sen. Malcolm Smith on Tuesday heard the one-time Albany power broker on a secret recording tell an informant posing as a political fixer to do "whatever needs to be done" to secure party bosses' support for a possible 2013 mayoral run.

Smith and two others are charged in federal court in White Plains with a conspiracy to bribe Republican county officials to get them to let Smith, a Democrat, put his name on the GOP primary ballot last year.

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In the phone call to Smith played on Tuesday, informant Mark Stern didn't explicitly mention a bribe, but asked Smith if he had authority to do "whatever needs to be done" to cut a deal with Queens GOP leader Vincent Tabone, a co-defendant accused of eventually taking a $25,000 bribe.

"Let me put it this way, you do what you think is necessary," answered Smith. He claims he never agreed to an illegal payoff, and was entrapped.

Prosecutors revealed Tuesday they had not turned over to the defense more than 200 tapped phone conversations Stern had while he was cooperating, some of them discussing Smith. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas said they could be relevant to entrapment and should be handed over immediately.

He did not rule on a defense request for a continuance. The trial is in its second week.


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