Ex-councilman Halloran gets 10 years in prison for bribery scheme involving NYC mayoral ballot

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WHITE PLAINS, New York — A former New York City councilman who was convicted of helping another politician try to buy a spot on the 2013 mayoral ballot was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison.

Daniel Halloran, a Queens Republican, was found guilty last year of bribery and fraud by a federal jury that deliberated just 90 minutes.

Prosecutors said Halloran helped state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, bribe GOP leaders for their approval to let him run for mayor as a Republican.

Smith, who did not run for mayor and lost his state Senate seat after his indictment, was convicted last month and is to be sentenced in July. Three others who were indicted with Halloran have also been convicted or pleaded guilty.

Smith needed the approval of at least three top New York City Republican Party leaders to run for the GOP line. Prosecutors said Halloran, 42, negotiated the bribes and took more than $15,000 himself.

He was also convicted of taking $15,000 from what he thought were suburban developers who wanted him to funnel city money their way. The men were actually working for the FBI.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Wednesday that elected officials like Halloran "undermine the public's confidence in a representative form of government."

Halloran admitted taking money but said it was legitimate, for work as a political operative.

"It's regrettable this is the way politics works, but it's not illegal," Halloran said. The defense said he "never crossed the line" into crime.

Just before he went on trial, Halloran tried to raise an insanity defense, based on brain surgery he underwent in 2012 to remove a benign tumor. The judge said there wasn't enough supporting evidence.

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