State Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn’s 19th District was stripped of his seat Friday after he was convicted on three of the nine corruption charges he faced.
Sampson was found guilty by a jury of lying to federal agents and obstruction of justice stemming from the alleged theft of $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
“Today’s verdict stands as a vindication of the efforts of this office and the FBI to aggressively root out corruption undertaken by a public official in New York,” said Acting United States Attorney Kelly T. Currie. “Sampson, a lawyer, New York state senator, Senate leader and one- time chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, abused his power and violated his oath, undermining the very system of laws he was sworn to uphold. He will now be held accountable for his crimes.”
Since 1997, Sampson has served in the New York Senate representing the 19th District in southeastern Brooklyn. From June 2009 to December 2012, he was the leader of the Democratic Conference of the Senate, and from January 2011 to December 2012, he was also the Senate minority leader.
Sampson has also served as the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Sampson’s decision to engage in corrupt and illegal behavior was further aggravated by his efforts to conceal the scheme from FBI agents charged with investigating his misconduct,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez. “As this case proves, we, along with our partners, will continue to root out obstruction of justice in all forms and at all levels of government.”
Addressing the media after the verdict, Sampson’s attorney, Nick Akerman, said Sampson was always loyal to his constituents.
“What the jury’s verdict showed was that at no time during Mr. Sampson’s career as a public servant and as a state senator did he ever use his office to benefit himself or anyone else other than the people of his district,” said Akerman.
Constituents in Sampson’s district will have to vote for his replacement in a special election, which could take place in November. Reports indicate that former Bloomberg administration official Samuel Pierre and small business owner Mercedes Narcisse are vying to run for the seat.
Assemblyman Charles Barron is also looking at running for the seat. In an interview with the AmNews, Barron said the organization Operation Power recently met in East New York about his possible candidacy.
“We are looking for radical, independent candidates that are honest and have integrity,” he said. “Those who are concerned about human need over human greed.”
No date has been set for Sampson’s sentencing and he’s currently out on bond.