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Halloran speaks to jurors at his federal corruption case

By Sarina Trangle

Former Whitestone City Councilman Daniel Halloran assumed the witness stand in his federal corruption trial Thursday, saying a statement he made about money being the prime motivator in politics was taken out of context by prosecutors who have made it a catch phase of the corruption case.

Halloran was arrested last April for allegedly negotiating state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s (D-Hollis) suspected bribes to New York City’s GOP parties in exchange for their authorizing Smith to run for mayor on the Republican line.

Prosecutors contend Halloran accepted kickbacks for his politicking and also agreed to steer discretionary city money to two men he believed were financing these bribes to get the pair to contribute to his congressional campaign.

When announcing the arrest, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed Halloran was secretly recorded by the FBI saying, “That’s politics, it’s all about how much. Not whether or will, it’s about how much… You can’t do anything without the f—ing money.”

The conversation took place at a meeting where prosecutors maintain he accepted a cash bribe, which Halloran said was a personal favor to boost his credit.

Halloran, who often spoke rapidly and animatedly, turned toward jurors in federal court in White Plains and said he was joking in the taped comment. The Republican noted he was upset that his opponent, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), had amassed a large campaign war chest while he struggled to raise money in the 2012 race.

“I was frustrated,” Halloran said. “I was angry that this is what politics had come down to.”

Halloran’s attorney Vinoo Varghese asked him questions on dozens of topics, from his years with the Boy Scouts organization to why he sought Orthodox and Conservative Jews’ votes.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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