WASHINGTON – A former Supreme Court Justice of the Third Judicial Circuit of the State of New York was charged today with attempted extortion and federal program bribery, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced. Thomas J. Spargo, 65 was charged in an indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of New York.
According to the indictment, while Spargo was a state Supreme Court Justice in 2003, he allegedly solicited $10,000 from an Ulster County, N.Y., attorney who had cases pending before the judge. The indictment further charges that Spargo solicited the money by causing the attorney to fear that Spargo would use his official acts and influence to harm the attorney if he was not paid and, conversely, to help the attorney if he was paid.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Richard C. Pilger and Trial Attorney M. Kendall Day of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, headed by William M. Welch II, Chief. The case was investigated by the FBI – Albany Division.
An indictment is merely a charge, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.