State Sen. John Sampson may surrender this week
Brooklyn state Sen. John Sampson may surrender as soon as this week to face federal charges, including obstruction of justice, in a widening corruption scandal involving Albany legislators, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
The case against Sampson, a Democrat, is based, in part, on the cooperation of two of his associates, including former state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who secretly recorded his conversations, the sources said.
The other is a Queens businessman, the sources said. Both are cooperating with Eastern District federal prosecutors and the FBI, the sources added.
Attorneys for Sampson did not immediately return calls for comment.
Sampson was first elected in 1996 and represents a swath of southern Brooklyn from East New York to Brownsville and Sheepshead Bay. He has served as chairman of the Senate Ethics and Judiciary committees and had been co-majority leader.
In January, Huntley pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to stealing almost $90,000 from Parents Information Network, a government-funded nonprofit she ran. The organization was to have assisted parents of children in the New York City school system.
Huntley, 74, last May had agreed to record her colleagues after the FBI told her she had been recorded on wiretaps in fraud and bribery schemes, court documents show. She recorded nine people, including seven elected officials, prosecutors revealed in court documents.
In March, according to court papers, an unnamed state senator asked Huntley, who was still in office and representing the area around Kennedy Airport, if she could use "her official influence" with the Port Authority to help a businessman he knew expand his operations at the airport "in exchange for payment from the businessman."
The state senator was Sampson, the sources said.
Huntley was eventually paid $1,000 by the Queens businessman for interceding with the Port Authority, but the agency did not let the businessman have more space at the airport, the court papers report. The Port Authority operates Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.
Huntley is the second Albany legislator recently known to have secretly recorded conversations with colleagues in an effort to aid federal investigators in Manhattan and Brooklyn probing corruption involving state legislators, court records show.
Assemb. Nelson Castro (D-Bronx) resigned last month after admitting that he wore a wire for investigators. As a result of his work, a fellow Bronx Democrat, Assemb. Eric Stevenson, was charged in a bribery scheme.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan last month accused Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) of bribing Republican leaders in Queens and the Bronx in exchange for getting him into that party's primary for New York City mayor.
With Lauren R. Harrison