Thomas Spargo -- Bush Campaign Operative Turned NY Judge -- Gets 27 Months in Prison for Bribery, Extortion
An upstate New York Supreme Court justice who had been prominent in the Bush 2000 Florida campaign — and who specialized in shaking down attorneys — was sentenced yesterday to 27 months in prison.
Thomas Spargo, an Albany-based judge trying cases in Ulster County, had been convicted in August of soliciting a bribe and attempted extortion. He was ousted from the bench in 2006.
Spargo was an election-law specialist and GOP loyalist who worked for George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount boondoggle and was spotted as one of the "Brooks Brothers rioters" trying to stop the recount.
Some observers are calling Spargo's current troubles "karma."
Spargo was soliciting bribes from lawyers in order to pay legal defense fees for previous judicial misconduct charges for which he was being investigated.
Details in this August 27 story.
After his work for the Bush campaign in 2000, Spargo was elected to the bench in 2001 — such elections in New York are usually just formalities after political parties determine who should be on the ballot. But he got into trouble for conducting prohibited political activities during his own campaign.
Spargo was hounded from the bench in 2006 by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for trying to squeeze money from lawyers who were trying cases before him. In December 2008, he was charged with extortion and bribery. In August he was convicted. Earlier this month, he was formally disbarred. And now he's been sentenced.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.