Capital Region group says indictment flawed
The Albany Times Union by JAMES M. ODATO - March 6, 2009
ALBANY, NEW YORK — A group of area attorneys have banded together to publicly criticize the federal indictment against former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. Calling themselves "Lawyers For Bruno," the group is sharing a point of view that echoes many of the remarks Bruno has made since he was indicted by a federal grand jury Jan. 23 on eight criminal counts. Led by E. Stewart Jones Jr. of Troy and Stephen Coffey of Albany, the 10 lawyers claim the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District has constructed charges on a flawed premise using the theft of honest services statute with dangerous disregard for fairness. "This prosecution is unwise, unwarranted and . . . unwinnable," Coffey said in a news release. He did not return a call. Coffey has represented witnesses in the case against Bruno. He is working for Susan Bruno, the oldest daughter of the senator, whose job with the Research Foundation of the State University of New York has come under scrutiny because of FBI inquiries about her assignments and her spotty attendance at her office at the foundation. Jones, who also has represented witnesses who testified during the grand jury probe of the senator, said the group has reached out to non-lawyers as well to join in supporting Bruno. "As citizens of the Capital District we stand by Joe Bruno," Jones said. "As officers of the court we are appalled at this indictment because of its fundamental legal flaws."