BRONX, New York (WABC) -- Longtime head of the correction officers union pleaded not guilty to charges that he took kickbacks and bribes for funneling pension funds to a financier's hedge fund.
"Absolutely not guilty," Norman Seabrook, Correction Officers' Benevolent Association president, said at his arraignment Friday in federal court.
Seabrook, and Murray Huberfeld, of Platinum Partners, are each charged with one count of honest-services wire fraud and conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud, which carry up to 20 year sentences.
Seabrook maintained his innocence Friday morning on the way into court. "I feel great, and we're innocent and it will be proven."
Huberfeld also pleaded not guilty.
Seabrook was arrested in June after a cooperating federal witness, real-estate investor Jona Rechnitz, said he personally handed Seabrook $60,000 in a black Ferragamo man purse in exchange for securing a $20 million pension investment.
Rechnitz said he introduced Seabrook to Huberfeld after Seabrook complained it was time, "Norman Seabrook got paid" for handling COBA's investments.
Seabrook was to be paid a portion of the profits from the union's investment, which Huberfeld estimated would be between $100,000 and $150,000 a year, according to the government.
The arrests are the latest development in a series of overlapping public corruption investigations, with other targets including high-ranking NYPD officials and is tied to a case involving Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising operation.