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Two New York state legislators' legal cases reach conclusion

Two long-running corruption and sexual harassment cases in the legislature reached their conclusion Thursday. 

Two sexual harassment victims of former Assemblyman Vito Lopez have settled their case, will receive  $580,000 in restitution. Most of that money will be come from taxpayers, with Lopez paying around $35,000.

Two other staffers who were sexually harassed earlier received a $103,000 settlement payment from the Assembly. The agreement was criticized as secretive and former Speaker Sheldon Silver was forced to apologize.  Silver resigned his post on February 2 on unrelated corruption charges.

Meanwhile, former state Senate Leader Malcolm Smith , a Democrat, was convicted on bribery charges, for trying to buy his way onto the republican ballot for New York City mayor.  Smith faces up to 45 years in prison when he’s sentenced.  

Smith was majority leader of the Senate in 2009, when Democrats briefly held power. He was removed from the post after a coup attempt. The man that replaced him as Democratic Leader, John Sampson, goes to trial on corruption charges this spring.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.