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NY state senator pleads not guilty to embezzlement, other charges in widening corruption probe

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FILE - In this file photo of Feb. 11, 2013, Sen. John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, speaks in the Senate in Albany, N.Y. Sampson was arrested Monday, May 6, 2013, by the FBI in the latest corruption case brought by federal prosecutors. The Brooklyn Democrat was to appear later in the day at a Brooklyn courthouse. Specific charges weren't immediately announced. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) (The Associated Press)

A once-powerful New York state senator has pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors already have offered a plea deal to Sen. John Sampson, who had his first court appearance Monday. His lawyer did not respond publicly to the offer.

Sampson was a court-appointed referee to watch over escrow accounts for sales of foreclosed properties in Brooklyn. It's alleged he embezzled $440,000 between 1998 and 2008.

He's also accused of funneling funds into his failed campaign for Brooklyn district attorney.

The arrest came less than a week after prosecutors revealed that former Sen. Shirley Huntley made numerous secret recordings of other elected officials in a bid for leniency in her own corruption case.

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