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Feds: State Sen. John Sampson lied to the FBI

New York State Senator John Sampson, center, exits

New York State Senator John Sampson, center, exits the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn on Aug. 8, 2013. Sen. Sampson is accused of embezzling $440,000 to finance a run for Brooklyn district attorney and recruiting a mole in the U.S. attorney's office to try to thwart a federal probe. Credit: Charles Eckert

State Sen. John Sampson's legal woes grew Monday when a superseding indictment in Brooklyn federal court accused him of lying to the FBI about efforts to get a tax break for a liquor store in which he held a secret interest.

Sampson, 47, a Democrat representing Canarsie, has been facing charges in Brooklyn federal court since last May of embezzling $440,000 from foreclosure-sale escrow funds, obstruction of justice and lying to agents.

The added charge says that he owned a share of a Brooklyn liquor store that was never disclosed to state authorities. He had a staffer try to get the state Division of Taxation and Finance to reduce a back-tax bill, but denied it when asked by the FBI, the charges say.

Sampson's lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan -- replacing Zachary Carter, who has taken over as New York City's top lawyer under Mayor Bill de Blasio -- said in a statement that the new charge, as well as the old ones, do not involve "misuse" of his office.

"The new charge . . . simply alleges an unrecorded statement to an agent of the FBI, which the government chooses not to believe, with respect to a matter for which the government fails to charge any substantive crime," Colangelo-Bryan said.

Sampson, a one-time Albany power broker who headed the Senate's Democratic conference, was accused last May of using some of the $440,000 he allegedly embezzled as a court-appointed foreclosure referee to run for district attorney in Brooklyn in 2005.

He also allegedly urged a witness to lie, bragged that he would "take . . . out" informants, and recruited a mole inside the office of U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District, Loretta Lynch, to leak information about the federal probe of him.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charge Tuesday.


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