State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) was led into a Nassau County police precinct wearing handcuffs Monday, after turning herself in to the DA's office on corruption charges.
The lawmaker announced Saturday at an emergency press conference outside her home that she would be surrendering to state investigators.
“I just wanted to say to my constituents that I am going to be arrested on Monday,” Huntley told the crowd. “I will turn myself in.”
Huntley is charged with tampering with physical evidence and falsifying business records in the first degree, according to State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Each of those felonies carries a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison. She also faces a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy in the fifth degree. Under the New York State Public Officers Law, conviction on a felony would result in Huntley's automatic removal from office.
“I’m not going to give you what my client’s reaction was,” Huntley's attorney, Sally Butler, said in response to a question at the Saturday press conference. "I think that's for us to deal with once we get to court because she does want her day in court. She wants it, she’s going to get it."
The six-year incumbent is facing a tough primary challenge from City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) and activist Gian Jones of Rockaway. Despite being arrested Monday, Huntley said she is staying in the race and will win.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Sanders called on Huntley to step down.
“In America a person is innocent until proven guilty,” Sanders said in a prepared statement. “However, a culture of corruption has pervaded our state government in Albany. Never before has it been as important to elect people of good character to office to ensure that the voice of the people is heard in the chambers of our state Legislature.”