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City Councilman in Bribe Case Won't Seek Re-Election

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    AP

     

    A New York City Councilman charged with taking bribes to help a would-be mayoral candidate won't run for re-election.

    Councilman Daniel Halloran said Wednesday that he wouldn't seek to keep his Queens seat in November's election so he could focus on exonerating himself.

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    [NY] 6 Pols Plead Not Guilty in Mayoral Ballot Bribe Case
    State Sen. Malcolm Smith and five other politicians pleaded not guilty Tuesday to corruption charges in connection with an alleged plot to buy a line on New York City's mayoral ballot. Melissa Russo reports.

    "Regrettably, I must now focus my attention on clearing my name and restoring my reputation," the one-term Republican said in a statement. "... I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign."

    Halloran, who ran for Congress just last year, was arrested last month in a case that federal prosecutors called an exemplar of a money-talks political culture.

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    A prominent Democratic state senator and a Republican city councilman from Queens were arrested Tuesday in an alleged plot to get the senator onto the New York City mayoral ballot by paying off GOP county chairmen, authorities said. Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran and four others were arrested by the FBI Tuesday morning.

    He's accused of accepting thousands of dollars in payoffs to help state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, bribe local Republican officials to let him run for mayor on the GOP line this year.

    While accepting a $7,500 cash bribe from a cooperating witness, Halloran was recorded saying, "That's politics. ... It's all about how much. ... That's our politicians in New York; they're all like that," according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

    Halloran, 42, also faces criminal charges and a council ethics probe over allegations that he agreed to steer up to $80,000 in council money to a company in exchange for more bribes. He has been stripped of his authority to allocate money for his district.

    "I look forward to having my day in court, where I am confident that I will ultimately be vindicated," Halloran said in Wednesday's statement. "Now is the time I must work to that end."

    Halloran has pleaded not guilty. So has Smith.

    While he's giving up his seat, Halloran won't resign before his term ends, said a spokesman, Kevin Ryan.

    A lawyer, Halloran was elected in 2009. He is perhaps best known for making a startling claim in the aftermath of a December 2010 blizzard that paralyzed the city: city workers told him there had been a concerted effort to slow plowing to protest budget cuts, he said. After a five-month probe, the city Department of Investigation said it found no evidence of an organized slowdown, though it found some individual problems.

    Halloran lost his congressional bid to former state Assemblywoman Grace Meng, a Democrat.

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