- Associated Press - Monday, August 6, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) - Embezzlement charges were reinstated Monday against a once-powerful New York legislator already serving a five-year federal prison sentence.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan restored the embezzlement claims on the same day that it upheld the conviction and five-year prison sentence for former state Sen. John Sampson on other charges.

It’s up to federal prosecutors to decide whether they’ll pursue another trial. They’re reviewing the decision.

U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry, Sampson’s sentencing judge, sent him to prison for longer than federal sentencing guidelines call for after she determined that the embezzlement allegations were relevant even though she had dismissed them, citing the statute of limitations.

The appeals court said it was not sure the government could prove that the alleged crime occurred within an allowable period but believed it should be given the opportunity to prove it.

The 53-year-old Brooklyn Democrat was convicted in 2015 of obstruction of justice and making false statements. He was acquitted of six other counts.

The appeals court said Sampson, who’s currently imprisoned at a New Jersey lockup, can now be prosecuted on charges that were rejected by Irizarry.

Those charges allege he embezzled $440,000 from various foreclosure escrow accounts while acting as a court-appointed referee in home foreclosure proceedings.

Sampson’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sampson began serving in the New York state Senate in 1997, serving as the leader of the Democratic Conference from June 2009 to December 2012 and as Senate minority leader from January 2011 to December 2012. He was expelled in 2015.

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