At the end of last August, former State Senator Shirley Huntley called for a press conference in her home district of Jamaica, Queens. There, she informed her supporters that she would be arrested the following day for an extensive criminal investigation into her personal expenses.
Turns out, between 2007 and 2008, Huntley was embezzling $90,000 through an educational non-profit she set up to spend on herself, her family and her friends. And the FBI knew all about it. So yesterday, Huntley was handed her sentence: a year and a half in state prison.
She begged the judge for a more lenient term, arguing “that you give me another chance. I vow to spend my remaining years to redeem myself in the eyes of those I have embarrassed.” This sentence even comes after Huntley agreed to help the Gmen with an action that could lead to a whole new row of scandal.
Last summer, the FBI confronted Huntley with a deal: to lessen her sentence, she could assist them in gathering evidence on other politicians under investigation by wiretapping the conversations – a tactic reportedly used last month with Assemblyman Neil Castro to help break up corruption in the Bronx.
She agreed and, for a few months, Huntley invited nine public figures into her home to chat while a recorder lay hidden. The other day, Huntley’s lawyer released a plea letter for the disgraced politician’s defense, naming the targets of the wiretapping. They are as following:
The U.S. Attorney’s office told reporters that only eight of the nine politicians named are actually under criminal investigation. Regardless, the ones listed are not taking the news of their wiretapped conversations so lightly.
At the court yesterday, Judge Jack Weinstein defended the consistency sentence, stating its severity “because the law expects the highest honesty from elected officials.” It’s not known how much the jury took into account Huntley’s work for the FBI but a year and a half for $90,000 worth of embezzlement is a little lower than usual.
If Huntley expected to get off completely free of prison time for her actions, she was vastly mistaken. Corruption is corruption in the eyes of the law.