Ex-Bronx GOP chair pleads guilty in bribery scandal involving Queens pols

Photo courtesy of The New York Daily News

The former Bronx Republican chairman has pleaded guilty in the bribery scandal involving two indicted Queens legislators.

Joseph “Jay” Savino admitted to accepting a $15,000 bribe in February from an undercover FBI agent to let Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith run for mayor as a Republican. Smith needed consent from three of the city’s five Republican chairmen.

Prosecutors said Smith had Councilmember Dan Halloran set up meetings with the county leaders and negotiate payoffs. Halloran is accused of pocketing thousands in exchange for his help.

Savino pleaded guilty to three public corruption counts on November 12 in federal court in White Plains for his hand in the alleged conspiracy that took place between November 2012 and April 2013.

He faces up to 30 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced February 25, according to reports.

Savino’s lawyer and Halloran, who has pleaded not guilty, did not respond to inquiries. Halloran’s lawyer declined to comment.

Former Queens GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, who were also arrested in connection to the scheme, have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Tabone’s lawyers said a motion they filed to dismiss the charges against him is still pending and will be heard by Southern District of New York Judge Kenneth M. Karas on December 5.

“Mr. Savino has his own reasons for pleading guilty, but as far as we can tell, he did not implicate our client in any of his pleas,” said Deborah Misir, one of Tabone’s attorneys.

“It doesn’t change the fact that we have a very weighty motion to dismiss, pending the court,” Misir said. “We’re very confident the court is going to dismiss the two charges against our client.”



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