State Sen. Kruger Pleads Not Guilty to Bribery

Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011  |  Updated 1:36 PM EDT
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Sen. Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn, in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Monday, June 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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Kruger Accused of Taking Bribes

Jonathan Dienst reports.
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A state senator from Brooklyn has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he took $1 million in bribes in a federal influence-peddling case.
    
Sen. Carl Kruger, a Democrat, entered the plea Tuesday in Manhattan. The hearing came days after prosecutors boosted charges against him, adding bribery to the mix.

He was charged last month with federal corruption, conspiracy and money-laundering for allegedly taking at bribes from associates and lobbyists in exchange for favors since 2006.

Outside court, Kruger lawyer Benjamin Brafman said his client “never accepted bribes from anyone for any matter and he never abused his office in any way whatsoever.”

In court, Brafman said a substantial number of 30,000 calls intercepted by the FBI during the investigation involved his client either directly or indirectly.
    
Kruger was the powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman from 2008 to 2010 when Democrats controlled the Senate.   

Prosecutors allege he unfairly helped a developer, a lobbyist and two hospital executives.

After his arrest in March, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference that no matter how often the alarm goes off about corruption, Albany hits the "snooze button."

"We are still up to our eyeballs with corruption," he said. 

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