Smith’s Request For Postponed Trial Denied

BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
Staff Writer

A federal court judge has denied embattled State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s (D-Hollis) request to push back his trial until after September’s Democratic Primary.

Last month, Smith’s defense attorney, Gerald Shargel, asked the Hon. Kenneth Karas to delay the trial so that Smith could have a “fair election.”

Karas however denied the motion and the Senator’s trial will move forward as scheduled on June 2.

Two challengers, attorneys Clyde Vanel and Munir Avery, have already announced their candidacy in the race to unseat Smith. Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie is also rumored to have an interest in running, as the Queens Tribune first reported.

According to the criminal complaint against him, Smith was considering running for mayor on the Republican ticket and made payments to former Councilman Dan Halloran in exchange for setting up meetings with Republican leaders to gain their support.

Smith allegedly agreed with a cooperating witness and an FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer to bribe Republicans leaders to obtain a Wilson Pakula – an authorization given by a political party to a candidate for public office which allows the candidate who is not registered with that party to run on its ticket for an election.

Smith is being brought up on charges of wire fraud and Travel Act bribery conspiracy, wire fraud and Hobbs Act. If he is found guilty of all charges, he faces up to 45 years in prison.

A spokesperson for Smith declined to comment.

Shargel could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Reach Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or nkozikowska@queenspress.com or @nkozikowska.