State Senator Denies He's Target of Corruption Investigation | NBC New York

State Senator Denies He's Target of Corruption Investigation

Carl Kruger's spokesman says he's a victim



    The three wise men: State Senators Pedro Espada, left, Carl Kruger, center, and former senator Hiram Monserrate

    A powerful state senator from Brooklyn is denying Friday that he's the target of a federal corruption investigation.

    State Senator Carl Kruger, chairman of the finance committee, is instead a "victim," according to his spokesman.

    Senator Kruger's name surfaced after a bail hearing Thursday in federal court for a Brooklyn restaurant owner charged with lying to the FBI about his dealings with Kruger's office.

    "Senator Kruger is the victim of an influence peddling scam perpetuated by someone under federal indictment for making false statements," said Austin Shafran, a Senate Democratic Majority spokesman.

    That man's attorney said his client doesn't believe that Kruger traded favors in exchange for campaign contributions.

    "We were told that if my client didn't cooperate in a corruption investigation against Carl Kruger that he would be charged criminally," said attorney Jeffrey Lichtman.

    He is defending Michael Levitis, owner of Rasputin's, a supper club in Brighton Beach.  Levitis had hosted a fundraiser for Kruger and contributed to his campaign, according to Lichtman.