An assemblyman, revealed Thursday he has been an informant since 2009 and helped prosecutors in public-corruption cases — sending shock waves through Albany and fueling speculation that more lawmakers could be taken down in what appears to be a widening probe.
The assemblyman, Nelson Castro, a Bronx Democrat, announced his role after Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx, was arrested Thursday by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in the second bribery scandal in a week to hit the Capitol.
Thursday’s case added fuel to the long-held criticism that state government in New York is dysfunctional. Twenty-nine state lawmakers have had ethical or legal troubles since 2000. In the past six years, nine senators have been defeated in a general election; 12 have been arrested, according to New York Public Interest Research Group.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement late Thursday, called the charges revealed this week “appalling.”
“New Yorkers deserve a government that is as good as the people it serves, and the events of the last few days fail this and every standard of public service,” he said.
Stevenson is charged with conspiracy to deprive New York state of honest services and federal bribery charges. The charges come with a maximum 35 years in prison.
“People do stupid things, frankly,” Cuomo said. “People do illegal things. People in power abuse power. And that’s part of the human condition. We do everything we can do to try to stop it.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, called on Stevenson to resign. “I believe that given the evidence that has been presented, he should seriously consider whether he can continue to maintain the public trust,” Silver said.