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New York City legislator guilty in bribery trial

Jan. 14, 2014 at 12:54 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A state legislator from New York City was convicted Monday of taking bribes from Russian businessmen seeking a monopoly on adult daycare.

A jury in federal court in Manhattan deliberated for about an hour before finding Assemblyman Eric Stevenson guilty of 55 corruption counts, WCBS-TV reported.

"As a unanimous jury swiftly found, Assemblyman Stevenson brazenly betrayed the public that elected him," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. "Graft and greed are intolerable in Albany, and we will go to trial as often as we have to until government in New York is cleaned up."

Stevenson, a Democrat and the son and grandson of Bronx politicians, represents an impoverished district in the East Bronx. He took office in 2011 and was charged with corruption just over two years later.

Federal prosecutors said he took more than $20,000 in bribes to push a law that would have prevented more adult daycare centers from being opened in his district, preventing any competition for two Russian businessmen. The evidence included tapes of Stevenson referring to a "nice little package" of money.

Stevenson's attorney did not put on any witnesses. He argued in his closing argument the prosecution witness who made the tapes was conning both prosecutors and the lawmaker.

Stevenson faces a lengthy prison term when he is sentenced.

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