WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) - In a lurid indictment, the United States charged six politicians with fraud, extortion and conspiracy, in the plan to run a Democratic state senator for mayor of New York City as a Republican.
Defendant New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, accused of taking bribes, was recorded saying: "That's politics, that's politics, it's all about how much. Not about whether or will, it's about how much, and that's our politicians in New York, they're all like that, all like that. And they get like that because of the driver that the money does for everything else. You can't do anything without the fucking money," according to the 10-count indictment.
It continues: "During the meeting, the CW [cooperating witness] paid Halloran $7,500 in cash. Near the end of the conversation, Halloran remarked, 'Money is what greases the wheels - good, bad or indifferent.'"
State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, needed approval of three Republican Party county chairmen to run for mayor on the Republican ticket.
All the defendants are accused of paying or taking bribes to throw half a million dollars of state money at a construction project they believed was run by men who actually were an undercover FBI agent and a cooperating witness.
All the quotations and allegations that follow are from the 32-page indictment.
Indicted on charges of bribery conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion and mail fraud were state Sen. Malcolm A. Smith, a Queens Democrat who sought to run for mayor as a Republican, in pursuit of bribes;
New York City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran, a Republican from Queens;
Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph J. Savino;
Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone;
Village of Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, and its Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret.
They are accused of "three separate, but related, bribery schemes."
Halloran is accused of taking "cash payments totaling tens of thousands of dollars" to help Smith bribe Republican Committee leaders.
Tabone and Savino are accused of taking $40,000 in cash bribes to "approve and obtain approval" for Smith to run as a Republican.
Smith, unfortunately for him, "used an undercover FBI agent (the 'UC') and a cooperating witness (the 'CW') to negotiate and pay the bribes on his behalf," according to the indictment.
It continues: "In return for the assistance of the UC and the CW, Smith agreed to use his office as a New York state senator to help the UC and the CW obtain $500,000 in New York State transportation money for a road project associated with a real estate development project in the Village that Smith understood the UC and the CW to be developing; ...
"Daniel J. Halloran, the defendant, accepted bribes in exchange for his use of his office as a New York City Council member to allocate City funds to a company he understood was controlled by the UC and the CW;
"Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret, the defendants, accepted money and property in exchange for using their official positions as mayor and deputy mayor and members of the Board of Trustees of the Village to approve the real estate project and to divert state transportation money to a company controlled by the UC and the CW."
The indictment cites times and places where bribes were allegedly paid and accepted, and transcripts of apparently incriminating conversations.
Midway through the alleged bribery scheme, Smith was recorded telling the FBI agent: "Whatever you gave them, you know, is you know there. And trust me, they don't, even if they screw, let's just say they screwed you and me and said, you know, I'm not doing anything. The worst part about that is, when you screw somebody over money like that ... you know, that's the worst ... you're looking over your shoulder all the rest of your life. ... You're looking over your shoulder because, because, not only that, this world is too small. ... Yeah, the world is too small. And any time you do that, imagine you came to me and said, Malcolm, they screwed me. ... I got them already asking me about judgeships, because you know judgeships now come through here, it comes through the governor." (Ellipses in indictment.)
Prosecutors seek forfeiture of assets, including proceeds of the scheme.