More crimes have been added to the morass of charges filed against state Sen. Carl Kruger — leaving the embattled legislator in even hotter water than he was before.
An indictment released last week adds bribery to the fraud and money laundering charges filed against Kruger (D–Brighton Beach) last month.
If convicted on all counts, Kruger, 61, would face 90 years in prison. He would also have to pay more than $10 million in fines.
During an arraignment hearing on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Harrington told U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff that he has 100,000 documents and 30,000 recorded phone conversations that establish his case.
Kruger is accused of taking close to $1 million in bribes from lobbyist Richard Lipsky, Brooklyn developer Aaron Malinsky, David Rosen, the former CEO of Brookdale Hospital, and a handful of other hospital officials between 2006 and 2010. The FBI claims the bribery payments were sent to Olympian Strategic Development Corporation, a fictitious company set up by Michael Turano, a Manhattan gynecologist long-rumored to be Kruger’s lover.
Turano and Kruger used most of the money to pay the mortgage on a multi-million dollar home on Basset Avenue in Mill Island that they share with Turano’s brother and mother Dorothy — who is district manager of Community Board 18, the criminal complaint alleges. Kruger also bought a Bentley for Michael Turano’s brother.
Kruger didn’t speak to reporters as he and his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, entered Manhattan Federal Court. Turano, who also refused to address reporters, went in ahead of Kruger and was found sitting on a bench across from the senator as the arraignment proceedings commenced — giving only the slightest of glances to his house mate.
In a brief statement following the proceeding, Brafman said the senator has done nothing wrong.
“My client never accepted a bribe, ever, from anyone for any reason,” Brafman said. “He never abused his office.”
During the brief hearing, attorneys for four of the legislator’s would-be co-conspirators, including Turano, announced that they were planning to sever their cases from the senator, apparently believing they’ll have a better chance with a jury without Kruger’s alleged crimes dragging them down. Severing the cases would also improve a defendant’s chances of a plea deal as they approach trial.
Defense attorneys say severing their cases from Kruger’s is logical since the FBI’s case involves several different conspiracies that do not involve all of the defendants.
“It’s a confusing indictment,” attorney Jeff Lefcourt, who is defending Lipsky, said. “It alleges six different conspiracies, but my client isn’t in all of them.”
Monday’s court hearing was mostly procedural, with Judge Rakoff setting up a time line as to how the trial was going to progress. Any severances from Kruger’s case should be filed by the end of the month, he said.
Everyone agreed save for Rosen’s attorney Robert Morvillo, who told Judge Rakoff that he was ready to cut ties with Kruger and go to trial immediately.
“Give us a speedy trial and we will no longer be a thorn in anyone’s side,” Morvillo explained.
Brafman asked to slow things down, telling Judge Rakoff that he has a lot of evidence to wade through.
“I could tell you how long its going to take to review it all, but it would only be an educated guess,” he said.
©2011 Community News Group
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