Minutes after his release on $1 million bail, former assemblyman Jimmy Meng allegedly called the key witness against him in a federal case in which he’s accused of bribery, prosecutors said last week.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Seifan told a federal judge on July 25 that as soon as Meng walked out of his indictment hearing, he dialed up the man who caught him on tape soliciting an $80,000 bribe, according to multiple published reports.
He allegedly did this before he even made it out of the Brooklyn Federal Court House where he was indicted on wire fraud charges on July 24.
Meng is the first Asian American to serve in the New York Assembly where he represented Flushing from 2005 to 2006.
Federal agents arrested him on July 24 after a months-long investigation into him claiming he could influence county prosecutors.
He allegedly promised an associate he could reduce a prison sentence in exchance for $80,000 stuffed into a fruit basket and delivered to Meng’s lumberyard in Queens.
Meng’s associate, who prosecutors have not named, was working with the FBI though, and taped conversations setting up the transaction.
To add insult to injury, prosecutors say Meng had no influence to reduce the sentence and was planning to rip off his associate.
His associate is the one Meng allegedly called right after he paid his bail.
Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak reprimanded Meng in court on July 25, saying he had violated the terms of his bond by reaching out to the witness.
“If you do it again, you’re going to jail,” she reportedly said to him.
He already faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of the fraud charges leved against him.
Contacting a witness against him could also be pursued as a federal crime—obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
Meng’s daughter Assemblywoman Grace Meng is currently running for Congress in Queens 6th Congressional District.
She maintains she knew nothing of the bribery or investigation until the news broke last week.
“I am independent of my father—always have been, always will be,” she said in a statement.
Her opponent, Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, has stayed out of the fray, declining to comment.
By Jeremiah Dobruck