Jimmy Meng was the first Asian American to be elected to the New York State legislature in 2004 and today he became the first Asian American former Assemblyman to be sent to jail on bribery charges. Meng, the father of New York's first Asian American Congresswoman Grace Meng, was sentenced today to one month in jail and fined $30,000 for his role in an $80,000 in a fruit basket bribery scheme.
"As a child I grew up in poverty, I have always tried to the best of my ability to help others less fortunate than me," Meng, 69, reportedly told the judge at his sentencing today. "I cannot explain what had come over me and why I did this. It is simply a stupid mistake that I will have to live with for the rest of my life."
Prosecutors had one good explanation for Meng's actions—he was caught promising a business man he'd help him with the Manhattan DA's office in exchange for cash. "It's clear that greed played a role in his crime," Brooklyn Assistnat US Attorney Todd Kaminsky said today. "He thought he could sucker somebody into giving him $80,000."
In addition to his brief jail time (he was facing up to 18 months) Meng must perform 750 hours of community service and two years probation. Meng's daughter Grace was reportedly at the court today. Last week the younger Meng reached out to the judge in the case to request leniency, but classily wrote it on her personal stationary and refrained from mentioning her political position.