Monday, January 19, 2009

Feds: Indicted Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio Talked Nonstop on Phone by Thomas Zambito - Thomas Zambito - NY Daily News

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An indicted Queens lawmaker was so chatty, investigators said they intercepted more than 15,000 calls on his office phone.

'Are you saying 15,000 calls on one phone?' an incredulous Manhattan Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald asked prosecutors, who revealed Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio's gabfest during a court hearing Monday.

'But he doesn't look like a teenager.'

Seminerio chuckled nervously at the defense table.

Over the next few weeks, prosecutors will turn over copies of the recorded calls as well as other evidence they've gathered in their case against the law-and-order Democrat and former city correction officer.

Seminerio, 73, is accused of using his clout in Albany to rake in $1 million by setting up a a bogus consulting firm to collect cash from several businesses.

Seminerio was snagged by disgraced labor leader Brian McLaughlin, also a veteran Queens assemblyman, the Daily News has previously reported.

Following his own arrest, McLaughlin introduced Seminerio to an FBI agent posing as a businessman looking for inside access to Albany pols. The undercover fed paid Seminerio $25,000 to introduce him to several lawmakers, prosecutor say.

Seminerio faces up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted. Last week, he reintroduced a bill that would allow "paddling" of juveniles 13 or older convicted on graffiti charges to add "a sense of humiliation to the punishment."