The sentencing of former Queens legislator Brian McLaughlin was delayed indefinitely Friday, one day after sources identified him as the cooperating witness cited in the federal government's criminal case against state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill).
According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, a cooperating witness who sources told the TimesLedger was McLaughlin recorded several conversations with Seminerio and introduced him to an undercover FBI agent — evidence that is now being used to pursue the indictment of the 73 year-old legislator
McLaughlin, who pleaded guilty to federal racketeering and false statements charges in March for stealing $2.2 million from labor groups, his political committee and a Little League, was expected to be sentenced to between eight to 10 years in prison by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.
His sentencing was adjourned, however, to a yet to be determined date last Thursday afternoon after the federal Probation Office said it had not completed its pre-sentence investigation report.
The sentencing adjournment came just a day after the arrest of Seminerio, who face mail fraud charges for allegedly forming a consulting firm and charging his clients for providing them access to state legislators who could advance their interests.
An insider told TimesLedger it was evident McLaughlin's sentencing was postponed while prosecutors continued to hash out a deal with the former labor leader for his cooperation.
According to the criminal complaint against Seminerio, the cooperating witness allegedly met with the south Queens assemblyman and recorded a series of conversations with him in September and November.
During those conversations, Seminerio detailed the operation of his consulting firm to the witness, the complaint said. On Nov. 15, 2007, according to the criminal complaint, when the cooperating witness allegedly mentioned a businessman interested in privatizing New York's Probation services, Seminerio immediately offered to introduce the man to the state probation commissioner. The businessman was an undercover FBI agent.
McLaughlin was a colleague of Seminerio for his entire 14-year tenure in the state Assembly, beginning in 1992 and ending shortly after his indictment in 2006. Their districts were contiguous in southern Queens.
In March, McLaughlin admitted in Manhattan federal court to 21 separate criminal offenses spanning more than a decade. The U.S. attorney's office said a new date for McLaughlin's sentencing has not been scheduled.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, ext. 138.
©2008 Community News Group
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