He’s sorry all right — but mostly for himself.
Disgraced ex-state Sen. John Sampson waffled on Wednesday about how he’s been “suffering” because of his corruption conviction, as a judge sentenced him to five years behind bars.
The once-powerful Brooklyn Democrat took a moment in his mostly self-serving statement to “apologize for my actions” — but failed to say sorry to the constituents that elected him to the very office he abused.
“I’m going to do something my lawyer told me not to do,” Sampson began in Brooklyn federal court. “But I’m going to put aside this prepared statement and speak from my heart.
“No one can understand the suffering I’ve experienced over the last chapter. For five years, I’ve been living a nightmare. I buried my father, and now my daughter’s graduating from Columbia.”
Sampson was stone-faced as he poured out his heart to Judge Dora Irizarry, who called his crimes an “abuse of power.”
“I see all the media coverage and I think, is that really me?” he wondered to a courtroom full of reporters and his family. “No matter how many positive things you do, only one incident or a couple can overshadow it all. My parents raised me better than this.”
A jury found the 51-year-old guilty of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI about illegally skimming more than $400,000 from foreclosure deals he worked on as a court-appointed referee.
Embezzlement charges against him were dropped ahead of trial because the statute of limitations ran out.
But that didn’t stop Irizarry from questioning that alleged conduct as part of her sentencing.
“As I sat there reading the letters saying you paid for this medical procedure for someone, or put down money for someone else, I have to wonder if some of that money came from embezzled funds,” she said about the dozens of letters Sampson supporters wrote to the court in a bid for leniency.
The judge also noted that Sampson — a now-disbarred attorney — was driven by greed, even though he and his wife earned hefty salaries.
“What level of greed do you have to have to engage in this conduct?” she said.
Prosecutors asked that Sampson be sentenced to just over seven years, noting that he skirted the law post-conviction by working as a lawyer work in an unrelated case.
“Before he’s even sentenced, he appears in court [as an attorney], showing an incredible lack of awareness about what he’s done, and what it means,” said prosecutor Paul Tuchmann.
But defense attorney Nick Akerman painted Sampson out as a victim.
“The collateral consequences have been severe. He’s lost his office, he was disbarred, lost his entire livelihood, and suffered irreparable damage to his reputation,” Akerman said.
Defense has vowed to appeal the conviction.
Outside the courtroom, Brooklyn US Attorney Robert Capers, who sat in the front row for the sentencing, said, “He abused his position as a state senator, and he abused his position as a friend” for enlisting paralegal pal Sam Noel to send him confidential information.
Sampson, who is free on bail, must self-surrender to begin his sentence by April 21. He also must pay a $75,000 fine.
Noel, who cooperated with the government to help convict Sampson, was sentenced to probation last year.
Via The NY Post
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