Former NY State Judge Convicted of Bribery

     (CN) – Former New York Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo was convicted of attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe from attorneys with cases before him. A federal grand jury in Albany, N.Y. convicted the 66-year-old Thursday after a three-day trial.

     In November 2003, Spargo demanded $10,000 from an attorney with cases pending before him in Ulster County, N.Y., where Spago was serving as a state supreme court justice.
     When the attorney declined, Spago increased the pressure, telling the attorney that if he didn’t pay up, cases handled by his firm and his personal divorce would be in jeopardy.
     “It is a sad day indeed when a judge breaks the laws that he is sworn to enforce,” New York Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a statement.
     Spargo faces up to 10 years in prison on the solicitation bribe, and another 20 on the extortion conviction. He also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count. Sentencing is set in December.
     Spargo was removed from the bench in 2006 when the solicitation allegations surfaced. He was ultimately banned from judicial office in the United States.

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