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Seven lawmakers recorded in N.Y. corruption probe: filing

New York State Senator John Sampson leaves the Brooklyn Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, May 6, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
New York State Senator John Sampson leaves the Brooklyn Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, May 6, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By Jessica Dye

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former New York state senator from Queens secretly recorded seven lawmakers as part of a political corruption probe, according to a court document unsealed Wednesday.

Shirley Huntley, 74, a Democrat who pleaded guilty in January to embezzling $87,700 from a nonprofit organization, recorded and photographed the officials on multiple occasions in the summer of 2012 after meeting with federal prosecutors and agents, according to the filing in Brooklyn federal court.

The recorded lawmakers include New York state senators John Sampson, Eric Adams, Ruth Hassel-Thompson, Jose Peralta, Malcolm Smith and Velmanette Montgomery and New York City Councilman Rubin Wills. Huntley also taped conversations with Melvin Lowe, a former political consultant and associate of New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, and Curtis Taylor, a former press adviser for Malcolm Smith.

The U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn declined to comment. However, it said in a separate court filing Tuesday that eight of the nine individuals recorded remain under investigation. No details of the investigation were provided. Huntley's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Wills said that his attorney had been informed by law enforcement that his client was not the subject of an investigation. Adams said he had not been contacted with regard to any investigation. Peralta he was confident authorities would find he did not engage in any wrongdoing.

Representatives for Sampson and Smith declined to comment. Representatives for the other senators did not immediately return a request for comment. The non-elected officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two of the individuals who Huntley taped have already been named in federal criminal cases.

Last month, Smith was charged with bribery in connection with the New York City mayoral race. Sampson was charged Monday with embezzling funds from foreclosed properties in Brooklyn. Both pleaded not guilty.

The filing, a sentencing memorandum from Huntley, was originally filed under seal. After media outlets, including Reuters, requested that it be made public, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein unsealed the filing.

Huntley, who faces up to 5 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.

(Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Scott Malone and Noeleen Walder)

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