Former State Senator Shirley Huntley secretly recorded three Queens elected officials, among others, for federal authorities last summer, according to court documents.
State Senators Jose Peralta and Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Ruben Wills were named in a memorandum unsealed by a federal judge this afternoon.
The filing also named Brooklyn State Senators Eric Adams, John Sampson and Velmanette Montgomery; Bronx State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson; Melvin Lowe, a former political consultant and associate of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; and Curtis Taylor, a former press consultant for Smith.
None are necessarily accused of wrong-doing.
Federal authorities reportedly claim three of the recorded politicians were helpful in building cases.
Smith was arrested on April 2 after federal prosecutors said he tried to bribe Republican county leaders to let him switch parties and run on the GOP ticket for mayor. Sampson was arrested on Monday, May 6 and accused of embezzling money from the sale of foreclosed homes.
According to the court filing, federal officials approached Huntley last summer—before she herself was charged for allegedly covering up money funneled through a non-profit she helped establish. Schneiderman brought those charges.
In February, she pleaded guilty to trying to help cover up the $87,000 embezzlement. She will be sentenced in federal court on Thursday, May 9.
According to the memorandum, Huntley told government officials she knew of corruption that involved elected officials. She reportedly spoke with them over a course of six months.
Huntley, who lost a primary last September, invited the leaders into her home and recorded conversations on behalf of the FBI, the document said.
“The defense is aware that the government is currently investigating public officials based in part upon the information provided by Ms. Huntley and her recorded conversations,” Huntley’s lawyer, Sally Butler, said in the memorandum. “Ms. Huntley has not revealed her proffers or recordings publicly so as to maximize the government’s current efforts.”
A spokesperson for Smith said the embattled legislator could not comment on anything related to his arrest last month or new allegations that he met with Huntley. Wills’ office also did not have a comment at this time.
An inside source told The Queens Courier more names are expected to be released.
Two of the officials named in the filing are seeking higher office this year. Peralta is one of six candidates running for Borough President. Adams was vying to be the first black Brooklyn Borough president. A Peralta spokesperson would not comment at this time.
All elected officials in the probe were Democrats, shaking an already unsettled party in Albany. A Senate Democratic Conference spokesperson issued a statement on behalf of the caucus following the news.
“This is an extremely trying time in Albany,” he said. “If any charges are brought, the conference will take appropriate action.”
– With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes and Melissa Chan
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