NEW YORK, AUG. 20 -- Rep. Floyd H. Flake (D-N.Y.) and his wife, Margaret, pleaded not guilty today to charges of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion, and Flake then assured about 250 supporters that he will be vindicated at trial.
Flake, 45, was indicted Aug. 2 on 17 counts and his wife on nine. Lawyers entered pleas for the couple at a five-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Eugene H. Nickerson in Brooklyn, and neither defendant spoke. Nickerson scheduled the next hearing for October.
"I am not guilty," Flake told supporters as he left the courthouse. "My record speaks for itself." Many of the supporters, who had arrived in chartered buses, were from the Allen African Methodist Church in Jamaica, Queens, where Flake is pastor. His wife works for the church.
A two-term congressman who represents the 6th Congressional District, Flake was charged with diverting $141,700 from church and housing funds for his own use and for failing to report it as taxable income. The charges center on the Allen Senior Citizens Apartments, which Flake's church built in 1981 with a $10 million federal loan. The church operates the complex with a $100,000 federal subsidy.