A government informant in the corruption trial of Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson testified Wednesday that after paying a $5,000 bribe in an Albany hotel, he turned off his secret recording device without authority from agents while he met with a prostitute.
Sigfredo Gonzalez, the star witness against Stevenson, said he kept the recorder off at a later meeting with corrupt Russian businessmen for fear they would mention the hooker, and later had to plead guilty to lying to federal agents about it.
“I was embarrassed,” said Gonzalez, a Bronx political operative and former Assembly aide.
Stevenson, 47, faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted of taking more than $22,000 in bribes to do favors and sponsor legislation for four Russian businessmen seeking to develop adult day care centers in the Bronx. Gonzalez turned informer after he was caught paying bribes to former Assemb. Nelson Castro, himself an undercover informant. The Russians sought Stevenson’s help to put a senior center in his district.