NEW YORK, SEPT. 22 -- Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.) was convicted today of obstruction of justice and two related charges but acquitted of more serious counts of bribery and conspiracy involving his efforts to help an ailing Brooklyn ship-repair company.

Biaggi, 69, accused of accepting two free Florida vacations from former Brooklyn Democratic leader Meade H. Esposito, was found guilty by a U.S. District Court jury in Brooklyn of accepting an illegal gratuity and of illegal interstate travel.

Esposito, 80, also was convicted on the gratuity and travel counts but acquitted of the more serious charges.

The split verdicts, returned on the third day of deliberations, was a setback for the Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force in Brooklyn. It had charged that Esposito used the free vacations to purchase Biaggi's political influence on behalf of Coastal Dry Dock and Repair Co., a major Esposito client.

Biaggi, a 10-term House member and former New York City policeman, appeared disappointed. "I was acquitted of bribery . . . . The jury convicted me of tipping," he said. "I'm not a waiter, I'm a congressman, and I will continue to be a congressman . . . . This is just part of the fight."

Biaggi faces another trial on charges that he engaged in extortion, racketeering, fraud and perjury in assisting Wedtech Corp., a small Bronx defense contractor.

Esposito said he feels "very vindicated . . . . I have proven to the world that my integrity and my honor are still great."

Prosecutor Edward McDonald called the verdict "fair and just," saying, "Both men have been corrupt public figures for some period of time, and the citizens of New York will be well served by their removal from public life."

While the two faced a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted on the bribery charge, the gratuity charge carries a maximum term of two years. Biaggi faces an additional five years in prison on the obstruction charge. The travel charge involves crossing or causing someone to cross state lines to carry out an illegal scheme.

U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein set sentencing Oct. 20.

The jury apparently was persuaded by Biaggi's attorney, Barry Slotnick, who said it was absurd to believe that the congressman, whose net worth is $2 million, would risk his career for two free vacations.

Noting that Biaggi could have traveled virtually anywhere at congressional expense, Slotnick, who also represented subway gunman Bernard H. Goetz, said: "He didn't need Meade Esposito to provide a spa vacation. He could have gone to Hawaii."

On Monday, the jury asked Weinstein to explain the difference between the bribery and gratuity charges. The judge said that, to support a bribery conviction, the jury must find that Esposito gave Biaggi something of value in return for influence on an official act, while a gratuity charge need not involve a specific "quid pro quo."

The obstruction charge against Biaggi stems from a 1986 wiretapped conversation with Esposito after the Federal Bureau of Investigation had questioned both. Esposito said the vacation trip was "not a gift . . . . It's, uh, it's a, uh, manifestation of my love for you."

Biaggi replied, "You didn't give it to me because I'm a member of Congress."

Other FBI wiretaps provided a glimpse into the way politicians do business in New York. In a 1985 conversation, Esposito told a business partner that he had twice paid for Biaggi's Florida trips and that the $10,200 cost was "good money invested." On another tape, Esposito boasted that he had been "the boss of the {expletive} state."

Biaggi has acknowledged urging New York City officials to cut utility rates for Coastal Dry Dock and lobbying members of Congress and Navy and Coast Guard officials in an effort to win military contracts for the firm. He said he would have done this for any constituent.

Coastal, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, owed Esposito's Manhattan insurance firm $600,000.

Biaggi told New York Newsday on Monday that he had tried to shield his ailing wife, Marie, from news of the trial but that she recently learned of it and "is not talking to me." Biaggi visited the Florida spa with former model Barbara Barlow, 45, who testified at the trial.

Biaggi is the 12th member of Congress convicted of criminal charges in the last decade.