Only in New York State politics
Mar 12, 2014 | 1131 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We happen to think a courtroom sketch of a smiling and victorious 
Malcolm Smith would look great in his re-election campaign literature.
We happen to think a courtroom sketch of a smiling and victorious Malcolm Smith would look great in his re-election campaign literature.
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There's a lot of reasons to delay a federal corruption trial; the accused hasn't had sufficient time to mount a defense, a key witness is unavailable, health reasons.

But only in New York City would someone reasonably request that their trial be delayed so they can...wait for it...run for public office!

But such was the audacity of State Senator Malcolm Smith, who is staring down a June court date to face a slew of charges, including bribery conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion.

Recently, Smith's attorney petitioned the judge in the case to push back the start of the trial because a messy affair like this has the potential to distract Smith from the more pressing issue facing him, namely his bid for re-election coming up in September. (Of course, if Smith's colleagues in the State Senate get their way and have the Democratic Primary moved up to the end of June from September, that's really going to be a sticky wicket for embattled pol.)

That's right, Smith is accused of abusing the powers of his office to orchestrate an elaborate bribery scheme that would eventually have gotten him on the Republican Primary ballot for mayor last year, but despite all that he still feels that he is the most qualified person to represent voters in southeast Queens...as a Democrat mind you.

Apparently, Smith feels that being adept at bribery and extortion is part of a skill set necessary to succeed in Albany. Unfortunately, given all of the scandals that have rocked the state capital as of late, he might not be too far off.

Smith's argument goes something like this: he's innocent, and he plans to prove it. But if the trial starts in June, the electorate will be inundated with negative press and coverage of the trial, which will severely impact Smith's ability to mount a successful campaign and give him another term in office.

Say what you want about former Councilman Dan Halloran, who was also implicated in the clumsy and poorly executed scheme, at least he wisely decided to retreat from the public eye and focus on clearing his name rather than try and seek another term in office.

In addition to Halloran, Smith will be tried with former Queens Republican Party vice chairman Vincent Tabone. But before you get too upset about Smith's selfish and petty request, a judge last week denied a delay, meaning the trial will start on June 2 as scheduled.

We're not sure why Smith was so eager to get his trial pushed back - we think a few courtroom sketches would really jazz up the usual paint-by-numbers campaign literature. And if he is, somehow (we don't see how), found innocent before the primary, think about how he can tout his accomplishments in office over his opponents, as well as his ability to beat federal corruption charges to boot. Have any of opponents managed that?

Oh wait, this is New York City, there's a good chance they have. Or at the very least, they'll likely get to prove they can beat a corruption rap once they're in office.

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