John L. Sampson

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John Sampson
Member of the New York Senate
from the 19th district
In office
January 1997 – July 24, 2015
Preceded byHoward E. Babbush
Succeeded byRoxanne Persaud
Minority Leader of the New York State Senate
In office
January 3, 2011[dubious ] – December 17, 2012
Preceded byDean Skelos
Succeeded byAndrea Stewart-Cousins
Democratic Conference Chairman New York State Senate
In office
June 16, 2009 – December 31, 2010[dubious ]
Preceded byOffice created
Personal details
Born (1965-06-17) June 17, 1965 (age 54)
Brooklyn, New York
Political partyDemocratic Party
Alma materBrooklyn College (B.A.)
Albany Law School (J.D.)

John L. Sampson (born June 17, 1965)[1] is an American former politician and convicted felon. A Democrat, Sampson represented District 19 in the New York State Senate from 1997 to 2015. Sampson became Senate Democratic Leader in June 2009 and served as Senate Minority Leader from January 2011 to December 2012. Sampson forfeited his Senate seat when he was convicted of federal felony charges on July 24, 2015. On January 18, 2017, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Education and early legal career[edit]

Sampson earned his B.A. in Political Science from Brooklyn College and a J.D. from Albany Law School (class of 1991). He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Albany Law School.[2]

Sampson worked as law clerk with the Department of Environmental Conservation and as a Staff Attorney to the Legal Aid Society of New York.[3]

Starting in 1994, he worked as an attorney for the law firm of Alter and Barbaro, Esqs.[4]

Political career[edit]

Elected in 1996 to the New York State Senate, Sampson served in the Senate from 1997 to July 2015.[5] He was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Deputy Majority Leader for State/Federal Relations. He was also the ranking minority member of the Senate Health Committee.[citation needed] Sampson represented Senate District 19 in Brooklyn.[6]

Sampson had the distinction of being the first African-American to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also served as Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Administrative Regulations Review Commission.[3]

In 2005, Sampson made an unsuccessful bid to become District Attorney of Kings County, New York, opposing the incumbent, Charles "Joe" Hynes.[citation needed]

On June 15, 2009, Sampson was elevated to the leadership of the Democratic Conference of the State Senate. As conference chairman, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations and the legislative agenda of the Democratic caucus. He served in leadership alongside former Majority Leader and Temporary Senate President Malcolm Smith.[7] From January 2011 to December 2012, he served as Senate Minority Leader.[8] On December 17, 2012, Sampson was ousted from his leadership post when Democrats elected Andrea Stewart-Cousins as Senate Democratic Leader.[9][10]

On May 6, 2013, Sampson was indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation stemming from alleged theft of $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes,[11][12] to which he pleaded not guilty.[13] On the same day, Sampson was stripped of his committee assignments and ranking positions and removed from the Senate Democratic Conference.[14][15] Despite the indictment, Sampson won re-election in 2014.[16]

On July 24, 2015, Sampson was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements to federal agents, which are felonies, and was automatically expelled from the Senate.[17][18]

On March 10, 2016, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court suspended Sampson from the practice of law.[19] Because of an appeal based on the 2016 United States Supreme Court decision that overturned the conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell,[20] Sampson was sentenced on January 18, 2017 to five years in prison.[21] As of July 2019, he was incarcerated at Fairton, which is a medium security prison facility located in New Jersey.[22]


  1. ^ "Gotham Gazette's Eye On Albany: New York State Senate: District 19".
  2. ^ "Hon. John L. Sampson '91". Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Biography: John L. Sampson, New York State Senate, found at Accessed May 21, 2012.
  4. ^ King, David Howard (May 6, 2013). "Who Is NY State Sen. John Sampson?". GothamGazette. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Ramey, Corinne. "Former N.Y. State Sen. John Sampson Sentenced to Five Years". WSJ.
  6. ^ "Former Bklyn State Senator John Sampson Sentenced to 5 Years in Jail". January 25, 2017.
  7. ^ Danny Hakim and Jeremy W. Peters, "Judge Refuses to Reverse G.O.P. Takeover of State Senate," New York Times, June 16, 2009, found at New York Times website. Accessed June 16, 2009.
  8. ^ "State Senator John Sampson found guilty".
  9. ^ Paybarah, Azi. "Moving on from Sampson, State Senate Democrats elect Andrea Stewart-Cousins". Politico PRO.
  10. ^ "Democratic Senators Embrace Andrea Stewart-Cousins as Their New Leader". December 18, 2012.
  11. ^ "Senator in Corruption Case Spoke of Silencing Witnesses, Prosecutors Say". New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  12. ^ "For New York Legislators, Indictments Are No Obstacle to Seeking Re-election". New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  13. ^ Associated, The (May 7, 2013). "New York state Sen. John Sampson pleads not guilty to embezzling $440,000".
  14. ^ "Stewart-Cousins Boots Sampson From Conference".
  15. ^ Vielkind, Jimmy. "Feds: Sen. John Sampson embezzled". Albany Times Union. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  16. ^ Ogle, Vanessa. "Sampson keeps seat — for now". Brooklyn Paper.
  17. ^ John Sampson, New York State Senator, Is Guilty on Some Federal Charges by Stephanie Clifford, in the New York Times on July 24, 2015
  18. ^ "New York State Senator John Sampson Convicted of Obstruction of Justice and False Statements". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  19. ^ "In Mattet of John L. Sampson".
  20. ^ Peralta, Eyder (June 27, 2016). "Supreme Court Throws Out Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's Conviction". National Public Radio. NPR. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  21. ^ Gregorian, Dareh (July 5, 2016). "Corrupt Former Sen. John Sampson Wants New Trial, Hopes to Take Advantage of Supreme Court's Ruling in Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's Case". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  22. ^ Santiago, Amanda (July 2, 2019). "What 9 disgraced New York politicians are up to now". City & State New York.
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Howard E. Babbush
New York State Senate
19th District

Succeeded by
Roxanne Persaud
Preceded by
John A. DeFrancisco
New York State Senate
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee

Succeeded by
John Bonacic
Preceded by
Andrew Lanza
New York State Senate
Chairman of the Committee on Ethics

Succeeded by
Andrew Lanza
Party political offices
Preceded by
new office
Democratic Conference Leader in the New York State Senate
Succeeded by
José M. Serrano
Preceded by
Dean Skelos
Minority Leader in the New York State Senate
Succeeded by
Andrea Stewart-Cousins