Veteran Brooklyn politicians among those secretly recorded by ex-State Senator Shirley Huntley

Former State Senator Shirley Huntley secretly recorded three Brooklyn elected officials, among others, for federal authorities last summer, according to court documents released on Wednesday, May 8.

State Senators Eric Adams, Velmanette Montgomery, and John Sampson were three of seven city politicians named in a memorandum unsealed by a federal judge.

The filing also named Queens State Senators Jose Peralta and Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Ruben Wills, Bronx State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson; Melvin Lowe, a former political consultant and associate of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; and Curtis Taylor, a former press consultant for Smith.

None are necessarily accused of wrongdoing.

However, even the whiff of something criminal could hinder the election prospects of those such as Adams, who has been considered the frontrunner to succeed outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

“I have not been contacted about any investigation,” Adams said in a statement. “I believe deeply in transparency and the pursuit of justice—and that is why I committed 20 years of my life to law enforcement. I am more than willing to help with any investigation.”

Federal authorities reportedly claim that three of the recorded politicians were helpful in building cases.

In an unrelated matter, Sampson was arrested on Monday, May 6 and accused of embezzling $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes and attempting to cover up his actions, allegedly even going so far as attempting to discover who were the listed witnesses against him so that he could “take them out,” according to a report in the New York Times.

Sampson, who has pleaded not guilty to a laundry list of charges including two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements to the FBI, allegedly used the stolen money to fund his unsuccessful bid for Brooklyn district attorney in 2005. He has been offered a plea agreement that would include jail time, but has not acted yet on that.

Smith was arrested on April 2 after federal prosecutors said he tried to bribe Republican county leaders to let him switch parties and run on the GOP ticket for mayor.

According to the court filing, federal officials approached Huntley last summer, before she herself was charged, for allegedly covering up money funneled through a non-profit she helped establish. Schneiderman brought those charges.

In February, Huntley pleaded guilty to trying to help cover up the $87,000 embezzlement. She is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Thursday, May 9.

According to the memorandum, Huntley told government officials she knew of corruption that involved elected officials. She reportedly spoke with them over a course of six months. Huntley invited the leaders into her home and recorded conversations on behalf of the FBI, the document said.

“The defense is aware that the government is currently investigating public officials based in part upon the information provided by Ms. Huntley and her recorded conversations,” Huntley’s lawyer, Sally Butler, said in the memorandum. “Ms. Huntley has not revealed her proffers or recordings publicly so as to maximize the government’s current efforts.”

An inside source told this paper that more names are expected to be released.

All elected officials in the probe are Democrats, shaking an already unsettled party in Albany. A Senate Democratic Conference spokesperson issued a statement on behalf of the caucus following the news.

“This is an extremely trying time in Albany,” he said. “If any charges are brought, the conference will take appropriate action.”

This newspaper was unsuccessful in trying to reach Montgomery’s office by press time. A spokesperson for Smith said the embattled legislator could not comment on anything related to his arrest last month or new allegations that he had met with Huntley. Wills’ office also did not have a comment at this time. A Peralta spokesperson would not comment at this time.

– With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes, Melissa Chan, Heather J. Chin and Helen Klein

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