Ex-Assemblyman Credited For Fighting Corruption

NEW YORK (AP) -
Assemblyman Nelson Castro (L) in the Assembly Chamber before he resigned last year. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Assemblyman Nelson Castro (L) in the Assembly Chamber before he resigned last year. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

A former Democratic assemblyman from the Bronx won’t serve any time in prison for making false statements since he “helped clean house” in state politics by cooperating in a lengthy corruption probe that resulted in the conviction of another state assemblyman and five others, a judge told him Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer sentenced Nelson Castro to 250 hours of community service and two years of probation after he pleaded guilty a year ago to lying to criminal investigators about whether he had spoken to the media and revealed his cooperation. He still faces sentencing on state charges.

“The good that you did by cooperating over a period of years exposed and put an end to far more official corruption and misconduct than you engaged in,” Engelmayer said.

Citing a “long and sorry history of official corruption” in Albany, the judge said public officials too often talk a good game against corruption but then do nothing about it.

“For all your warts, for all your misdeeds, you did something about it. You covertly tape-recorded public officials and community leaders,” the judge said. “You helped clean house.”

Castro said he realized how wrong he had been once he began cooperating with federal prosecutors.

“I was no longer surrounded by politicians,” he said. “Strangely, this was the best thing that could have happened to me.”