Former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in prison for his conviction in a bribery scheme gone awry.
The former Flushing lawmaker was found guilty in Brooklyn federal court last November of one count of wire fraud, after he took $80,000 in a fruit basket from someone seeking a lesser sentence in an unrelated case. Meng claimed he would use the money to bribe Manhattan prosecutors into leniency.
In reality, Meng had no connection to the District Attorney’s Office, and pocketed the cash for himself.
“It was a stupid mistake I made, which I will regret for the rest of my life,” he reportedly said at his sentencing. “I hope someday I can be forgiven.”
Meng faced up to 18 months in prison, according to sentencing guidelines. His attorney, Todd Greenberg, asked for leniency due to the 69-year-old’s age, previous work at the civic level, as well as health problems that reportedly include insomnia, depression and panic attacks.
Judge Allyne Ross said the former legislator clearly used his personal status as a former official to enrich himself. But the judge granted a more lenient sentence, agreeing with Meng’s attorney. The sentence also includes a $30,000 fine and 750 hours of community service.
His daughter, Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens), submitted a letter to the court last week on her father’s behalf.
“Since I can remember, he has always encouraged us, his children, to volunteer as much as we could and to enter public service,” she said in the letter, which did not cite her position.
Meng was considered a trailblazer in local politics, when he became the first Asian-American to be elected to the New York State Legislature in 2005.
— Joseph Orovic