Disgraced pol Carl Kruger wiped away tears yesterday as he pleaded guilty to taking nearly half a million dollars in bribes with the aid of his gay lover — in a deal that calls for at least nine years in the slammer.
The veteran Brooklyn Democrat quit the state Senate shortly before striking his plea bargain in Manhattan federal court, where he struggled to contain his emotions before finally losing it.
“I apologize if I’m a little emotional over this,” Kruger, 62, told the judge as he choked up.
Also pleading guilty was Kruger’s boyfriend, gynecologist Michael Turano, who faces up to five years for depositing the nearly $500,000 in payoffs into his own business accounts.
“I understood that part of this money was paid because Carl Kruger, acting in his official capacity as a member of the New York state Senate, sought to benefit those individuals or entities making such payments,” Turano said through tears.
Turano, 50, then fell apart even worse than Kruger, bowing his head and weeping, his sobs amplified through the courtroom by a nearby microphone.
The dramatic display left Kruger looking pained as he covered his eyes with one hand.
Kruger — who infuriated gays and lesbians by opposing same-sex marriage before reversing himself this year — has refused to acknowledge his relationship with Turano, despite wiretaps in which they were caught engaging in “baby talk” and discussing how Kruger fell in love with Turano at first sight.
Kruger and Turano were among eight people busted earlier this year in what the feds called a “broad-based bribery racket reflecting an unholy alliance of politicians, lobbyists and businessmen.”
Kruger was charged with peddling his influence for more than five years, including as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
“With Sen. Kruger’s guilty plea today, yet another lawmaker-turned-lawbreaker has now been removed from an undeserved position of power in Albany,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
“Instead of serving the people who elected him, Sen. Kruger monetized his public office and served himself.”
According to court papers, Kruger got more than $1 million in bribes through a “pay-to-play” scheme involving representatives of the real-estate, hospital, supermarket and beverage industries.
In exchange for payments to shell companies set up by Turano, Kruger sponsored legislation, attempted to allocate millions in pork-barrel funds and even wrote a letter to a federal judge in Buffalo.