Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty in February to falsifying evidence and attempting to cover up her embezzle efforts, was sentenced in court today to a year and a day in jail. In addition, she will have to pay $87,700 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The crux of this case has always been the defendant Shirley Huntley’s greed and self-interest,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement. “Promising to provide much needed assistance to the parents of New York City public schoolchildren, … Shirley Huntley violated the public trust and betrayed her constituents by stealing public funds for her own benefit.”
Ms. Lynch added, “Today’s sentence should send a clear message: we will bring to justice those who corrupt the system of laws upon which our community relies.”
Several days ago, State Senator James Sanders reacted to the news that his predecessor wore a wire in an attempt to reduce her corruption sentence, by criticizing her for “snitching.” Well, the New York Post didn’t take kindly to that, and this morning, the publication editorialized harshly against Mr. Sanders, claiming he “seems to be endorsing the crime-abetting law of street thugs.”
Mr. Sanders released a follow-up statement this afternoon taking exception to the Post‘s characterization. “Snitching,” Mr. Sanders wrote, was only in the context of entrapment, which he insisted the editorial missed.
Councilman Larry Seabrook, who was convicted last July on 9 counts of wire and fraud charges, was sentenced in federal court today to 5 years in prison. Upon his conviction, Mr. Seabrook was immediately expelled from the legislative chamber.
In yet another one of the scandals beleaguering New York State politics in recent years, former State Senator Hiram Monserrate was sentenced to 24 months in prison today after pleading guilty in May to mail fraud charges.
Mr. Monserrate was convicted of misusing $109,000 in City Council grants to fund a failed State Senate campaign in 2006. A member of the City Council at the time, Mr. Monserrate directed the money to a group in his Queens district, the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment.
As expected, former State Senator Pedro Espada, who helped lead New York’s government into a unique form of chaos with his wheeling-and-dealing in 2009, plead guilty in federal court today to stealing from a non-profit he controlled. When sentenced, Mr. Espada will face up to 43 years in prison, in addition to “forfeiture, fines, and restitution in excess of $2 million,” according to a press release sent out United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York.
Shepard Fairey, the Los Angeles designer who created the famous poster of then-Senator Barack Obama next to the word “hope,” using an Associated Press photo as a base, was sentenced in a New York court earlier today as a result of AP’s litigation against him. He will face two years of probation and a $25,000 fine. Mr. Fairey had admitted that he tampered with evidence in his own legal efforts against the AP.
“In 2009, Fairey initiated litigation against the AP in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking a declaration that the Obama works did not infringe the AP’s copyrights, and that his use of an AP photograph was protected by the “fair use” doctrine of copyright law,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara office explained in a press release. “In Fairey’s complaint, he alleged that he had used an AP photograph of then- Senator Obama and actor George Clooney taken at an April 2006 National Press Club event as a visual reference. This claim was untrue. In fact, he had used another image from the same event – a tightly cropped image of then-Senator Obama gazing up, which was also an AP photograph.”