By Sadef Ali Kully

Former Bayside City Councilman Dan Halloran was sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison Wednesday for his role in a bribery scheme to secure a spot on the Republican line for former state Sen. Malcolm Smith in the 2013 mayoral race.

Halloran showed up at federal court in White Plains in a dark-colored suit and a baby blue tie alongside one of his brothers and lawyer Jonathan Edelstein, who was hired after the trial was over.

Federal Judge Kenneth Karas imposed the prison sentence following Halloran’s jury conviction last summer on five counts involving Smith’s mayoral bid and the councilman’s plot to direct city money to a sham charity in exchange for support for his failing congressional campaign.

The sentencing hearing began with examining the level of charges against Halloran, which were doubled because he took bribes as a public official, had the intent of taking additional bribes, and he perjured himself repeatedly during the five day trial.

“The jury clearly found Mr. Halloran dishonest. I had a front row seat. I watched his body language, his body languages said everything and his answers were even worse,” Karas said.“There is no question about his level of involvement.”

The judge presided over the original trial of Halloran, Smith and former Queens GOP leader Vincent Tabone, but granted a mistrial June 2014 because some of the evidence was in Yiddish and the defense needed time for translations to examine the evidence. Halloran chose to continue with the trial alone and was found guilty in July. Smith and Tabone went on trial in January on charges of bribery and fraud and were convicted after a five-week trial.

Halloran played the liaison between Smith and Tabone in the bribery scheme to get Smith the Republican nomination for the 2013 mayoral race. In exchange Halloran accepted almost $25,000 in bribes and also promised to reallocate $80,000 from public funding to bribe other players.

Edelstein, Halloran’s defense attorney, contended the penalty and fines Halloran was facing should be lessened because he did not know he was committing a crime by accepting a bribe, which Halloran viewed as a political consultant fee.

Karas disregarded the argument due to hours of video and audio evidence that showed Halloran well aware of his position he was playing in the maneuver to get Smith, a former Democratic majority leader in Albany, a spot on the Republican ticket.

Edelstein even tried arguing that this was the test case for a Wilson-Pakula certificate, a way to run for office on another party line, and Halloran should not be punished harshly because the legality of the Wilson-Pakula is “a gray area.” Towards the end, Edelstein fell back on Halloran’s years of public service, which included his experience as an Eagle Scout, to try to gain sympathy from the court.

“He lied and lied, for five days, it was troublesome and offensive,” Karas said before he announced the sentence. “Public officials need to understand that they cannot take bribes.”

The judge said the 121-month sentence was well below recommended guidelines.

Throughout the hearing, Halloran sat with his hands folded over his mouth at the defense table next to his lawyer.

He also will be required to serve two years’ probation after his sentence is completed, but the judge said the disgraced Republican legislator would not be charged any fines because he does not have the money to pay them.

Halloran was scheduled to turn himself in April 17 to begin serving the sentence. His lawyer is appealing his conviction.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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