NEW YORK (AP) – Former Congressman 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 of a heart attack at Richmond University Medical Center on Monday, his son, John Murphy Jr., told The Associated Press May 26.
During his nine terms in Congress, Murphy was considered a “middle of the road” Democrat. While he sponsored civil rights and voting rights legislation, he opposed abortion and gay rights.
He also worked on legislation that transferred control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama.
Murphy was one of about half a 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 2 years in prison.
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.