John Murphy, NY congressman convicted in Abscam, dies at 88

AP News
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Posted: May 26, 2015 4:28 PM
John Murphy, NY congressman convicted in Abscam, dies at 88

NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. John Murphy, who represented Staten Island for 18 years before being caught in the Abscam corruption scandal in the late 1970s, has died. He was 88.

The Democrat, who served in Congress from 1963 to 1981, died Monday of a heart attack at Richmond University Medical Center, his son, John Murphy Jr., told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Murphy was one of about a half dozen members of Congress convicted of taking illicit cash payments in the Abscam sting operation. They were caught on videotape taking bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab businessmen in exchange for legislative favors.

Murphy, who accepted a $50,000 bribe, was convicted of conspiracy and receiving an unlawful gratuity. He was acquitted of bribery and served less than two years in prison.

During his nine terms in Congress, Murphy sponsored civil rights and voting rights legislation and opposed abortion and gay rights. He also worked on legislation that transferred control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama.

A West Point graduate, Murphy earned several awards for his military service in the Korean War, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest honor given to a member of the U.S. Army.

Murphy was defeated when he ran for a 10th term, losing to Republican Guy Molinari.