Assemblyman William Boyland, who represents the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, is accused of making back door deals in order to use his influence as a lawmaker on behalf of a hospital chief executive in return for a phony consulting position that paid $175,000 a year.
On Monday, prosecutors allege that Boyland only wrote letters on behalf of Brookdale University Hospital and Jamaica University Hospital to state lawmakers. He was allegedly seeking millions of dollars in funding for the two hospitals.
Boyland did no meaningful hospital work, said prosecutor William Harrington. He also claimed that two hospitals did not hire a consultant, but rather paid activist for and a corrupt politician in Albany. He took the people's trust and sold them out, said Harrington in opening statements to the federal jury.
Defense attorney Richard Rosenberg, however, refuted those claims saying the consultancy position was not a no-show job and was certainly not a secret arraignment. Rosenberg said that the arrangement between Boyland and David Rosen, the former chief executive of MediSys, the nonprofit sponsor of Brookdale, was legal and that there was no evidence of corruption.
The government's case rests on cynicism, speculation and suspicion, said Rosenberg, according to The Daily News.
In September, David Rosen was convicted of conspiring to bribe Boyland by arranging a position in the hospital. He was also convicted of bribing two other Democratic officials, Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio of Queens and Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn. Seminerio pleaded guilty to fraud charge. He died in prison earlier this year. Kruger will face trial in January.
Boyland declined to comment after the trial's first day, according to The New York Times.
If convicted, Boyland could face a possible 25 years in prison.