Mistrial Declared in State Senator’s Bribery Trial

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -

A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the federal corruption case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith, meaning his re-election campaign can proceed without fear of a conviction before Election Day.

One of his co-defendants, former Queens Republican leader Vincent Tabone, also received a mistrial, but former Councilman Daniel Halloran opted to go forward on his own.

The three are accused of scheming to bribe Republican leaders so Smith, a Democrat, could run for the GOP line in the New York City mayoral race.

The mistrial was caused in part by the prosecution’s late release of more than 70 hours of secret recordings involving a government informant. The trial was already behind schedule, and the release of the recordings pushed it back even further. Not enough of the jurors could serve that long.

Smith and Tabone will be retried in January, after Smith’s campaign for re-election to his Senate seat from Queens. Asked how the mistrial affected the campaign, Smith’s lawyer, Gerald Shargel, said, “I’m a defense attorney, not a political strategist.”

Judge Kenneth Karas asked the 15 jurors and alternate jurors if they could stay with the case until July 18, his new estimate of when it would end.

Karas determined that only 11 of them would be able to stay, not enough for a full jury.