While we understand the judge’s reasoning for granting a mistrial in the federal corruption case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith of Hollis and former Queens Republican Party official Vince Tabone, the move is a travesty for the people in the lawmaker’s district.
This trial should have been wrapped up before the September primaries, in which Smith faces a serious challenge from former Councilman and Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie, as well as bids by two other hopefuls. The people should have known if their senator really did try to bribe his way onto last year’s mayoral ballot, as alleged.
Instead, they will have to wait until January for the senator’s trial to even begin. That means the primary and general elections will already have been held, and the new Senate already have been seated, without Smith’s constituents knowing if he is guilty of the crimes with which he has been charged.
And it means the senator, who touts his community activities with the now-comically ironic catchphrase “That’s our Malcolm,” will continue serving under a cloud of suspicion, which is bad for his constituents. If convicted, he would automatically be expelled from the Senate.
The blame for this mess lies with the prosecution, which did not turn over all its evidence to the defense as required. But of course it’s the common people who suffer. The government better get it right in January.