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Mistrial for Malcolm Smith

Cyril Josh Barker | , Stephon Johnson | 6/18/2014, 11:29 p.m.
Malcolm Smith

Untranslated Yiddish recordings are what’s to blame for the mistrial declared Tuesday in the case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith. He’s now going to face a retrial in January, which also also gives him the option to run for re-election.

Reports indicate that Judge Kenneth Karas declared the mistrial for Smith and former Queens GOP head Vincent Tabone. A new jury will have to be put together and witnesses will be called back for the retrial.

Smith found himself in court for over a year after being caught in an alleged bribery scheme, with the goal of running for mayor of New York City on the Republican line. The trial only lasted three weeks. Meanwhile, former City Councilman Dan Halloran, a co-defendant, resumes his own trial next week with the same jury.

In March 2013, FBI agents arrested and arraigned Smith; Halloran; Bronx Republican Chairman Jay Savino; Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone; Spring Valley, N.Y., Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret in a circular plot to rig the New York City mayoral race. The six were charged with bribery, extortion and mail and wire fraud. They were also required to surrender their passports.

According to the 28-page FBI complaint, Halloran, who acted as the go-between, the senator and the councilman allegedly colluded and conspired to help an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate mogul bribe GOP officials in Queens and the Bronx so that Smith could run for mayor.

In May 2013, former state Sen. Shirley Huntley was sentenced to over a year in prison on corruption charges for stealing money from a taxpayer-funded charity she controlled. While being arrested, news surfaced that Huntley wore a wire during home conversations with other elected officials after she started cooperating with the FBI. Smith was one of the officials she recorded.

Both Smith and Halloran denied any wrongdoing and pled not guilty.