Accused Ex-Assemblyman Jimmy Meng Called Star Witness Against Him Just Minutes After Getting Released From Jail
|Really, Jimmy Meng? Really?|
Just minutes after getting released from jail on $1 million bail yesterday afternoon, former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng -- who currently is charged with fraud in a somewhat hilarious faux-bribery case -- actually called the very witness who ratted him out to federal authorities.
As we reported yesterday, Meng allegedly lied to the aforementioned witness about being able to get him a reduced plea deal in a tax fraud case by bribing prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. The witness, however, told federal authorities about the alleged bribe, they set up a sting, and Meng was busted yesterday holding a fruit basket filled with $80,000 in cash.
"Mr. Meng, at approximately 5:48 pm yesterday,...contacted the cooperating witness in the case. That is extremely troubling," Assistant US Attorney Marisa Seifan reportedly told a judge today.
"We also believe that an associate of [Meng's] also reached out to the cooperating witness," Seifan continued during the hearing.
Calling the star witness in your own case is just about the last
thing you want to do -- it could be seen as tampering with a witness, or
obstruction of justice, and could potentially lead to additional jail
time, a possibility Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak explained to the
former Queens assemblyman.
"If you do it again, you're going to go into jail. Because if I find out that the witness feels intimidated, you're going into custody," Pollak said.
Meng, who was the first Asian-American elected to the New York State Assembly, is the father of Grace Meng, who currently is running for Congress.
If convicted, the elder Meng faces up to 20 years in prison.