NYS Senator Malcolm Smith broke his silence regarding the case against him for allegedly bribing his way onto the ballot for NYC Mayor.
The statement came prior to the start of the candidates’ debate for the seat he currently holds. The statement was prearranged with organizers for the event and participants included former councilman Leroy Comrie and attorney Munir Avery.
In his two minute statement, the Senator spoke about being unapologetic about being ambitious.
“Being an African American in Queens who is ambitious and who is independent must have upset somebody,” he said.
He reiterated his innocence and pointed to a conspiracy theory for the control of Southeast Queens as the reason behind the charges.
“Be careful who you talk to, be careful what you say. Because they’ve got their eye on Southeast Queens, they’re trying to shift it. The same way Harlem is no longer Harlem and Brooklyn is no longer Brooklyn.”
Smith indicated that those behind this conspiracy against him, and other Southeast Queens leaders, would be revealed at his upcoming trial.
He made these remarks in front of an audience at which former Senator Shirley Huntley was seated in the front row. The former Senator had named Senator Smith as complicit in her being targeted for investigation. She recently returned from serving a year’s time after pleading guilty to charges of fraud connected with the running of a non profit organization. She made no statement nor did she give any indication that she supported the Senator’s remarks.
Conspiracy theories against Black Elected officials have been raised before with no follow up with evidence. Recently, political reporter and OpEd writer Errol Louis denounced falling into the old pattern of citing such efforts as part of a conspiracy against Black Offficials. Errol wrote of seeing similar efforts against their political white counterparts with no hint of a conspiracy.
There was a smattering of applause throughout his speech but the audience was largely unmoved. The debate proceeded with no further direct mention of the case.
The debate was held Thursday, August 14 at Majority Baptist Church in Jamaica Queens.