NY state Sen. Sampson found guilty of obstruction

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A once-powerful New York politician was convicted Friday on charges he lied to the FBI in an attempt to obstruct a corruption investigation targeting him for embezzlement.

A federal jury in Brooklyn reached the verdict after deliberating for about a week at the trial of state Sen. John Sampson.

The Brooklyn Democrat was found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements. He was acquitted on six other counts, including witness tampering.

Sampson, 50, who was re-elected last year, was at the center of the latest federal trial resulting from federal prosecutors' campaign against dirty dealing in Albany.

The verdict showed that the jury agreed that the defendant has an "utter disregard for the rule of law and criminal justice system," acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said outside court.

Defense Attorney Nathaniel Akerman called the mixed verdict a partial victory, and told reporters he would pursue all his appeal options to appeal the convictions "until Mr. Sampson is vindicated."

Also speaking outside court, jury forewoman Kim O'Meally said that jurors decided to clear Sampson on the counts tied to a government cooperator, real estate developer Edul Ahmad. Asked what she thought of the witness, she replied: "He's dirty."

Prosecutors originally charged him with embezzling funds while acting as a court-appointed referee for home foreclosure proceedings in the mid-2000s. They also alleged he persuaded Ahmad to loan him nearly $200,000 to cover up the theft in exchange for political favors.

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