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Judge dismisses two embezzlement counts against John Sampson

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. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

A federal judge in Brooklyn yesterday said she would dismiss two embezzlement counts against state Sen. John Sampson, the former Democratic Senate minority leader who still faces charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and evidence tampering.

The embezzlement counts accused Sampson, a veteran Albany legislator from Canarsie, of misappropriating $160,000 in funds he was responsible for as a court-appointed foreclosure referee overseeing the sale of two properties in Brooklyn in 1998 and 2002.

U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry said she would strike the counts following defense arguments that the alleged embezzlement fell outside the five-year statute of limitations. Sampson was indicted in 2013. Prosecutors said his misuse of the funds lasted until 2008.

The government has alleged that Sampson embezzled funds to finance a 2005 run for Brooklyn district attorney, urged an associate to lie about it and recruited a mole in the prosecutor's office to thwart a probe, and lied to the FBI about efforts to get a tax break for a liquor store in which he held a secret stake.

Sampson, 49, was first elected in 1996, and won a primary in September to stand for re-election.

He still faces up to 105 years in prison. His trial is set to begin on Feb. 2.

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