Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Brooklyn Assemblywoman Convicted of Bribe-taking

By Robert Abruzzese and Eric Faynberg

New York State Assemblywoman Diane Gordon was convicted of bribe-receiving in the third degree today in Brooklyn Supreme Court. The representative of the East New York neighborhood was stripped of her position as a result.

“The verdict was not what we call repugnant,” said Bernard Udell, one of Gordon’s attorneys after the jury decided on the lesser of two charges. “We believe we had a strong case. The jury did their best. This is the first round; we hope she will be vindicated.”

The attorneys indicated they would appeal the verdict.

Caught on hidden camera arranging a deal with a local land developer, Gordon was to receive a $500,000 house in a planned gated community in exchange for her promise to help the developer, Ranjan Batheja, acquire a valuable piece of land in her district.

Gordon, who must pay a bail fee of $35,000 by tomorrow, faces up to 10 years in prison, or as little as probation and a $5,000 fine. The sentencing hearing was scheduled for May 20th.

“We’re going to do our best to see that the sentence is probation or less,” Udell said.

Assistant DA Michel Spinakos said he was pleased with the result after the jury also found Gordon guilty of seven lesser charges involving official misconduct.

“We got eight out of nine convictions,” he said. “She is no longer a member of the assembly as of right now. I think it sends a message about corruption in Brooklyn.”

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