2007_02_clarencenorman.jpgIn less than a year and a half, former Brooklyn Assemblyman and Democratic party boss Clarence Norman was found guilty on corruption charges. This time, a jury found Norman guilty of five counts of coercion, grand larceny by extortion, and attempted grand larceny by extortion related to, as the Daily News put it, "shaking down court candidate Karen Yellen for $10,000" back in 2002. Norman's threat was that she would lose his support if she didn't use certain campaign consultants. Norman was acquitted of five other similar charges related to extorting another candidate, Marcia Sikowitz.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said, "We were taking a creature that has been around politics for much too long, and we have exposed it for the evil that it is. Any political leader who engages in this kind of rank extortion, and think about it, any political leader who tries this, does so at her or his peril." However, Norman's lawyers tried to compare him to Martin Luther King, saying he only wanted to make sure white candidates were addressing the needs of the black community. The News also said the jury was made up of seven black members, three whites, and one South Asian (which only totals 11?).

Norman, who was elected to the Assembly twelve times, now faces 2-7 years in addition to the 2-6 year sentence he's already received. Norman was released on $50,000 bail, telling reporters, "I think it's about you run operations to win an election."

Norman is appealing his previous convictions. Last month, the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett had a great, detailed article about the corruption in Norman's "operations." And you can't talk political corruption in NYC without mentioning Boss Tweed.