The corruption trial of former state Sen. Malcolm Smith began Tuesday with his attorney arguing the disgraced pol's mayoral ambitions were pure.

"He was a man ready and willing to do good, not ready and willing to commit a crime. . . . Cash envelopes over drunken steak dinners were the opposite of what he wanted," lawyer Evan Lipton said in White Plains Federal Court.

Prosecutors charge that Smith engineered a $200,000 scheme to bribe his way onto the 2013 Republican ballot for mayor. Smith's co-defendant, former Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, allegedly helped him distribute the cash to the powerbrokers whose support he required.

Authorities say that Tabone accepted $20,000 at a boozy dinner at Sparks Steak House in Midtown on Smith's behalf from an undercover agent he believed to be a developer looking to curry favor.

The Daily News

Actually, what Smith wanted was to become mayor of the City of New York on the Republican ballot line. Whether or not that was ever a realistic idea is a matter best left to late-night comedy shows, or speculation of what a universe would look like where everyone is as plain dumb as Malcolm Smith.

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Because the sad fact is that he's dumb as a brick, just slightly less eloquent. He has however rendered an invaluable public service; establishing a rough price tag for the purchase of a New York politician. Turns out it's $20,000. Steak optional.

This post was written by Michael Bouldin.

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(image via Michael Bouldin)