NEW YORK -- Former US Representative Bertram Podell, who pleaded guilty to conflict of interest charges after a withering cross-examination by a young Rudolph Giuliani, has died at age 79, his law firm said yesterday.
Mr. Podell, who lived in Manhattan, died of kidney failure at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Mr. Podell, a Democrat who represented a Brooklyn district from 1968 to 1975, failed to win his party's nomination for a fourth term after being accused of accepting more than $40,000 in exchange for using his political influence to help a small Florida airline.
As a prosecutor at Mr. Podell's 1974 trial, Giuliani was so aggressive in his questioning that the congressman accidentally poked out his eyeglass lens, called for a court recess, and then pleaded guilty to reduced charges of conspiracy and conflict of interest.
Mr. Podell was fined $5,000 and served 4 1/2 months of a six-month prison sentence.
Once state legislation reinstated his right to practice law, Mr. Podell resumed his practice. He retired two months ago as a senior partner at Podell, Schwartz, Schechter & Banfield.
The Brooklyn native was a state assemblyman for 14 years before heading to Washington.