A New York lawmaker who had strong Orthodox Jewish backing because he rejected a gay rights initiative quit after pleading guilty to charges that he funneled bribes through his gay partner.
State Sen. Carl Kruger, a conservative Democrat who has held his Brooklyn seat since 1994 and was one finance chairman, resigned Tuesday just before pleading guilty to laundering up to $1 million from lobbyists through Michael Turano, a real estate agent described by prosecutors as Kruger's "intimate associate" and housemate.
"I accept responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry for my conduct,” Kruger was quoted by the New York Daily News as telling the court.
Kruger, who is Jewish, earned plaudits from the Orthodox community in 2009 for voting against a gay marriage bill, telling the Orthodox Hamodia newspaper at the time, "When it becomes an emotional, gut-wrenching issue, when it cuts through the fabric of traditions and values, then I have my community as the cornerstone of my decision."
The resignation will set off a scramble to capture the open seat that is bound to be hard-fought and closely watched given the small margin by which Republicans control the Senate. It may also affect the way a redistricting commission redraws the Senate district map. Analysts see recent Orthodox politically conservative voting patterns in Brooklyn as creating unprecedented opportunity for Republican gains.
Likely candidates include two Russian American lawyers, Democrat Igor Oberman and Republican David