Tag Archives: delay

Sen. Malcolm Smith’s lawyer wants federal corruption trial delayed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

State Senator Malcolm Smith wants his federal corruption trial delayed, as he runs for re-election and awaits a judge’s decision to dismiss some charges, his lawyer said.

He and former Councilmember Dan Halloran will return to court Feb. 28.

The pair and four others were accused last April of conspiring with the city’s Republican Party leaders to allow Smith, a Democrat, to run for mayor as a Republican.

Federal prosecutors said Halloran negotiated payoffs and set up meetings between Smith and the county bosses, allegedly pocketing thousands in the process.

Lawyers for the two say the act is not considered bribery under New York state law.

A judge will soon decide on motions to throw out some of the charges, said Smith’s attorney, Gerald Shargel.

“It’s progressing in the normal course,” Shargel said.

Smith’s lawyer also wants the trial delayed until after this year’s Democratic primary to give the southeast Queens politician a fighting chance at re-election.

The primary is expected to take place in September, while the trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Two challengers, attorneys Clyde Vanel and Munir Avery, have already surfaced to unseat Smith.

“I don’t think that he would otherwise have a fair opportunity to present his position to his constituents,” Shargel said.

The lawyer plans to submit a written request to the court Feb. 7, he said.

Meanwhile, another co-defendant in the massive bribery scandal has pleaded guilty.

Joseph Desmaret, the former Spring Valley deputy mayor, confessed to accepting about $10,500 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The 56-year-old pleaded guilty Jan. 29 in White Plains federal court and faces up to 40 years in prison. He is slated for sentencing May 22.

Former Bronx Republican chair Joseph “Jay” Savino pleaded guilty in connection to the case last November.

Other co-defendants, former Queens GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone and Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, say they are innocent.

 

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NYC bike share program delayed…again


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

A month after the mayor announced a delay in the city’s new bike share program, another postponement will push the roll out back to next spring.

Originally planned for a late July, early August launch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today on his weekly radio show with John Gambling the target date for the Citi Bike program is now March.

“Unfortunately there are software issues,” Bloomberg said. “Until it works we’re not going to put it out.”

Software problems were also responsible for the original delay.

“While we are eager for Citi Bike to begin, it’s more crucial that this ground-breaking transit system be launched correctly, not quickly,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Manufacturing and testing continue on the necessary software to operate the system, the DOT said.

Seven thousand bikes are planned at 420 stations throughout the five boroughs when the program finally commences. Riders will be able to rent bikes short term for a small fee or with a $95 annual membership. In Queens, there will be 10 stations in Long Island City with the other stations scattered throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“While the delay may have been caused by poor planning and software problems, the city should take this opportunity to address the remaining safety issues associated with the plan in order to lower the number of accidents and fatalities that may result from the Bike Share program,”said a spokesperson for Comptroller John Liu.

In June, the comptroller released a report endorsing safety-enhancing efforts to avoid accidents and lawsuits.

Citi’s $41 million sponsorship of the program will not be affected by the delay, the mayor said.

In a recent Quinnipiac poll 74 percent of voters thought the bike share program was a good idea.