State Sen. Carl Kruger will reportedly plead guilty today to accepting at least $1 million in bribes — and, in doing so, lose his powerful seat in the Senate.
Our sister publication, the New York Post, and a Manhattan publication, the New York Times, reported late Tuesday night that the embattle senator, a Democrat representing a swath of Southern Brooklyn who lives in a posh, seaside mansion in Mill Island, had struck a deal with feds, and would plead guilty to four out of five counts against him.
Kruger’s co-defendant Michael Turano, who shares the home with senator and has been reported to be his lover, is also expected to plead guilty.
Money-laundering charges against both men would be dropped under the deals, in which Kruger will admit to four counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and take bribes. Turano will plead guilty to one count of bribery conspiracy, the Post reported.
If Kruger pleads guilty to the felonies, the 16-year senator would immediately be expelled from the state Senate, where he has served on the powerful Finance Committee.
The case against Kruger dates back to March, when federal prosecutors charged him with using his office as a personal piggy bank that was filled by which lobbyists in exchange for Kruger’s help on legislative matters.
Federal prosecutors said that lobbyists paid Kruger close to $1 million to:
• Delay the expansion of a bill that included a five-cent deposit on bottled water. Lobbyist Richard Lipsky allegedly paid Kruger to not add bottled water to the bill, but it was ultimately added and passed in 2009. Despite that, Kruger put in legislation to delay the imposition of the deposit law until January, 2010.
• Alter the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law so grocery stores could begin selling wine. Kruger also helped forward legislation that would expand hours for liquor stores. All of this was done at the behest of Lipsky, who represents supermarket and liquor store retailers, federal investigators allege.
• Fight Walmart. The indictment alleges that Lipsky, who had been hired by the Food and Commercial Workers Union, paid Kruger to speak out against Walmart and other big box stores planning on coming to Brooklyn.
• Go to war with Native Americans. Kruger’s 2009 push to force Indian reservations to collect states sales taxes on cigarettes sold there was bankrolled by Lipsky on behalf of a supermarket chain tired of being undercut by cheaper cigarettes sold on native lands.
Check back with us for more on this breaking story throughout the day.