BY JOE MARVILLI
Dan Halloran was convicted Tuesday for his role in a political corruption scheme.
The former northeast Queens councilman was found guilty in his federal corruption trial that began on June 2, the conclusion to a process that began when Halloran was arrested in April 2013. The jury unanimously found him guilty for playing a key role in two distinct political corruption schemes.
The jury deliberated for only about an hour-and-a-half before reaching their decision. He was found guilty on one count of conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of Travel Act bribery. The trial, presided over by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, lasted about two months and included six days of Halloran defending himself on the witness stand.
Halloran is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on Dec. 12. However, he said he plans to file an appeal.
According to a release by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the jury agreed with the prosecution that Halloran got $20,000 for his willingness to act as a go-between and deliver bribes to political party officials, as part of a larger scheme to get State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) on the Republican ticket for Mayor last year. He also pocketed nearly $25,000 in cash and illegal campaign contributions to steer $80,000 in City Council money to other bribe payers.
“Dan Halloran was the lone defendant in the trial that just ended in his conviction, but he is unfortunately not alone in a crowded field of New York officials who are willing to sell out their offices for self-enrichment,” Bharara said. “This office will continue the vigorous prosecution of political corruption to secure for the people of New York – regardless of party affiliation – what they deserve: the honest labors of their elected representatives.”
Federal agents arrested Smith and Halloran the morning of April 2, 2013, indicting them for attempting to rig the then-upcoming mayoral election. According to the criminal complaint, Smith wanted the Republican Party to give him a Wilson Pakula, an authorization by a political party that allows a candidate to run on its ticket for an election, despite not being registered with that party.
Smith got a reprieve until Jan. 5, 2015, due to recently disclosed, untranslated Yiddish recordings that need to be sifted through. Judge Karas declared a mistrial for Smith and the Queens GOP’s former vice chairman, Vincent Tabone, because of the introduction of this potential evidence.
Before going to trial, Smith faces a primary challenge for his State Senate seat in September from former councilman Leroy Comrie.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.