Assemblywoman Diane M. Gordon wanted a house. She said so on the videotape played on Thursday, the opening day of her corruption trial in Brooklyn.
Videotape at Trial Shows Legislator Discussing Deal
She wanted a $500,000 house in a new gated community that a developer named Ranjan Batheja was planning at the edge of her district in eastern Brooklyn. And it couldn’t be just any house.
“Raj,” she says on the tape, “since I am the assemblywoman, I definitely need a detached home. I don’t need to be attached to anybody. Private. Detached, detached. Detached. You can make it happen. Raj, you can make it happen.”
If Mr. Batheja could make it happen, and could sell her the house for a dollar, Ms. Gordon said, she could help Mr. Batheja be named the developer of a vacant parcel of city-owned land in her district.
“We might be able to negotiate some, uh, one hand washes another hand,” Ms. Gordon says on the tape, which prosecutors said was made with a hidden camera in 2004 by Mr. Batheja, who was cooperating after being caught trying to bribe a building official. “Swapping stuff. Swapping some stuff here.”
That, in a nutshell, is the state’s case against Ms. Gordon, a four-term Democrat who is so popular in her district that she was overwhelmingly re-elected shortly after her indictment in 2006. There are many hours of videotape and audiotape to come in State Supreme Court, but quid pro quo is what the case boils down to.