WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK – On Wednesday, federal Judge Kenneth Karas handed former New York City Councilman Dan Halloran a 10 year prison sentence for his part in a corruption and bribery scheme. The sentence exceeded the U.S. Probation Department’s recommendation of 6 ½ to 8 years. At the time of his arrest, Halloran was the highest elected official in the U.S. who is openly an adherent of a Pagan or Heathen religion.
In September 2012, Halloran, along with state Democratic Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith and ex-Queens Republican Party leader Vincent Tabone, were the focus of an FBI sting operation. Halloran was recorded taking payoffs to facilitate a plot to get Smith, a Democrat, on the GOP line for the 2013 New York City mayoral race. Halloran testified during his trial that he expected Smith to appoint him as first deputy mayor.
Halloran says he was trying to uncover corruption when he took the bribes and would have turned evidence over to authorities for investigation. He also said he thought a second bribe was a legal retainer fee for his services to broker meetings with GOP officials.
According to the New York Post, Judge Karas went with the higher than recommended sentence because
“For five days, he lied on the stand,” White Plains federal Judge Kenneth Karas said of Halloran. “It was egregious. There was overwhelming evidence of his guilt,” added the judge as a stone-faced Halloran took a deep breath and nodded. “I saw him squirm and look uncomfortable on the stand … He lied and lied repeatedly. It was grotesque and offensive.”
Halloran faced a tough campaign in the 2009 election when local press, allegedly instigated by his opponent, outed his religion. His beliefs were often sensationalized by the press, including Village Voice cover art depicting Halloran with a dead sacrificed goat, ceremonial robe and runic cloak. Halloran was at one time a prominent member of the Théodish belief system, a faith that seeks to practice Germanic pre-Christian religion.
The tactic, and a possible backlash against Halloran’s opponent for allegedly attacking his religion, worked and Halloran was elected as Queen’s representative on the New York City Council. He went on to a failed bid to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2012. Just five months later, on April 2, 2013, Halloran was arrested for bribery and corruption. A month later he announced he would not stand for re-election for his City Council seat.
Co-defendants Smith and Tabone were convicted on federal corruption charges earlier this year, but haven’t yet been sentenced.
Halloran is scheduled to begin serving his prison term, which also includes two years of house confinement after he finishes his jail sentence that will begin April 17. His attorney says he plans to appeal the sentence.
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