Monday, November 24, 2008

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Senate 'Gang of 3' have the courage of their acquittals

Despite past differences among them, the so-called "Gang of Three" Democrats who have withheld support for Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) as majority leader share at least one other thing - clean criminal records. And this hasn't always been for lack of effort by prosecutors.

Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) was cleared decades ago of charges he and others tried to induce bribes from a developer. Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx) was acquitted in 2000 on charges he illegally used funds from a health plan for the poor to pay campaign expenses.

And last year it was reported that Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) and his son, Assemb. Ruben Diaz Jr., drew FBI probers' attention. Sen. Diaz has said this was because he'd made political enemies. No charges have been filed.

Some background reading on Espada, from Robbins in the Voice a while ago, is here. Also, Liz has WFP's Bertha Lewis with a line about Kruger "palling around with Republican terrorists," in talking about the prospect of Kruger trying for the housing committee, here.

At the end of the tape below is a primary-season reaction by Espada and company to a maverick blogger, Rafael Martinez-Alequin, whom he says he wishes to teach some "manners." Assaults aren't a great way to fend off criminal charges.

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