Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.) has not voted on the House floor since Sept. 22, the day he was convicted of accepting illegal gratuities, because several colleagues threatened to challenge his right to do so, a spokesman said.

"The threats were there, and Mario Biaggi is a person who respects the institution of the House, and his feeling is that the time period of refraining could very well be brief," Biaggi spokesman Bob Blancato said yesterday.

Blancato discounted the effect of an opinion by a House ethics committee that Biaggi should comply with a rule governing lawmakers convicted of certain crimes.

Biaggi, 69, had said the day after his conviction that he would continue congressional business as usual, including voting on the floor and in committee. He cited an opinion by the House counsel that the rule regarding activities by convicted members would not immediately apply to him.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct subsequently informed Biaggi that it interpreted the rule to apply as of conviction, but Blancato said that opinion had nothing to do with the congressman's decision to abstain.

"He has voluntarily refrained from voting on the floor and voting in committees as per a letter to the speaker {of the House} of Sept. 29, which came not because of a determination on a legal basis," Blancato said.

"A group of unnamed members of the House . . . indicated should he exercise his right to vote, that they would have gone to the floor and raised a challenge, which any member of the House can do by offering a privileged resolution."

Biaggi was accused of accepting two paid vacations from Meade Esposito, the former boss of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, in exchange for helping Coastal Dry Dock and Repair Co., a financially troubled shipyard.

Biaggi was convicted of illegally accepting gratuities, illegally crossing state lines to do so, and obstructing justice. Biaggi, who is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 2, faces as much as 12 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.