Last Tuesday, the federal judge presiding over State Senator Malcolm Smith’s (D-Queens) bribery case declared a mistrial. It came after several jurors told the court that they could not extend their jury service until mid-July, which would have been necessary for defense lawyers to review 70 hours of recordings – 28 of them in Yiddish – that an FBI agent secretly made. The trial was expected to end sometime this month. The judge set a new trial date of Jan. 5, 2015.
Smith, a Queens Democrat, is charged with trying to bribe his way onto the Republican ballot in the 2013 New York City mayoral election. He served as Senate Majority Leader when the Democrats controlled the State Senate in 2009-10. Smith is running for re-election, but is expected to face a primary challenge from former New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie in September.