BY TERENCE M. CULLEN & MAGGIE HAYES
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley was sentenced earlier today to one year and one day in jail plus three years probation, less than the recommended sentence for her crime.
In February, Huntley pleaded guilty to trying to help cover up an embezzlement of $87,000. Given the charges, a jail sentence of 18 to 24 months was expected, according to presiding Judge Jack Weinstein. But because of her cooperation with federal investigators, her sentence was lessened. According to Huntley’s lawyer, Sally Butler, Huntley had been feeding investigators information as recently as within the last week.
Federal prosecutors, however, said they did not enter a full cooperation deal because Huntley wasn’t honest about all items. Butler told the judge that Huntley wasn’t completely honest because she was afraid of what she was doing, and that Huntley did a courageous thing by cooperating with federal officials.
A court filing said that federal officials approached Huntley last summer, before she was charged, to wear a wire and record conversations with various elected officials including State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Ruben Wills and State Senator Jose Peralta. The US Attorney present at the trial said her cooperation was productive in some investigations.
Huntley, however, was able to leave on her own and has ten days to report to prison once the government assigns one.
In the presentencing statement, Butler noted Huntley is worried about the safety of her family during these times. Monday, her husband was accosted at the grocery store by someone believed to be associated with Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson, who was recently arrested for embezzlement and obstruction of justice.
After the trial, Huntley made no comment and was escorted into a black SUV with her husband and other associates.