Ex-New York Lawmaker Meng Admists Soliciting Bribe

Former New York state lawmaker Jimmy Meng, whose daughter was elected to the U.S. Congress this month, pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes in exchange for helping an associate avoid prison time.

Meng, 69, a former state assemblyman, admitted today in Brooklyn, New York, federal court that he asked for $80,000, packed in a fruit basket, to pay off prosecutors and help the associate obtain a lenient sentence for tax crimes. Rather than fulfill the promise, Meng planned “to keep the money,” he told U.S. District Judge Allyne R. Ross.

“Your purpose here was to obtain for yourself the $80,000?” Ross asked during the brief hearing.

“Yes,” Meng said.

Meng’s daughter, Grace Meng, a state assemblywoman and Democrat from Queens, New York, was elected earlier this month to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating Republican New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran. In January, she will be among the new majority of House Democrats as women and minority- group members for the first time outnumber white men.

Grace Meng said in a statement that she is “deeply saddened” by the case.

“Today, he has taken full responsibility for his actions and I support his decision,” she said. “This has been a difficult time for our family and we continue to pray for guidance in the coming months.”

A lawyer for Jimmy Meng, Todd Greenberg, said after the hearing that his client is “a good person.”

“This is the first time in his 70 years that he had a lapse in judgment,” Greenberg said.

Meng faces a likely sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison on a count of wire fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for March 12.

The case is U.S. v. Meng, 1:12-mj-00695, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in New York at csmythe1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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