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Monday, November 2, 2009

New York: The Land of "Honest Services" Theft

Feds: Bruno “exploited” power, public’s trust
The Albany Times Union by Robert Gavin - November 2, 2009

A federal prosecutor today cast former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno as a scheming state leader who skated by New York’s ethics rules, deceptively solicited unions with business before the state and reeled in hundreds of thousands of dollars while betraying the public’s trust in a shroud of secrecy. “He exploited his position,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Coombe as the trial of Bruno began before Judge Gary Sharpe in U.S. District Court on Broadway in downtown Albany. An eight-count indictment accuses Bruno, 80, who had been the Legislature’s most powerful Republican for more than 14 years, of mail and wire fraud in an alleged scheme to defraud the public of “honest services.” The silver-haired Bruno, of Brunswick, sat with his hands folded as the prosecutor repeatedly told a jury of seven women and five men of upcoming evidence they would hear to show his guilt. While many parties were “constantly bombarded” by investor representatives, “Senator Bruno’s calls were different,” she said. She told jurors Bruno approached 15 unions on behalf of the Milford, Conn.-based Wright Investor Services and 11 later invested with the outfit, which had paid the senator $1.3 million. She noted Bruno also received $630,000 from the locally based McGinn-Smith and Company between 1993 and 2005. She highlighted the alleged “mixing of Senator Bruno’s private interests and public duties.” She told jurors they would hear from the likes of union officials, as well as Loudonville businessman Jared Abbruzzese, who she said paid Bruno $360,000 in 2004 and 2005 – and then exchanged a horse when the payments stopped. Coombe said Bruno did not inform a legislative-controlled ethics committee he would be contacting labor unions – which deal with the state – when he approached the panel.

And the prosecutor said while Bruno sat atop the Senate leadership, some bills passed and some would not that “directly affected the unions.” She also alleged the senator had “empty shell” entities, identified as Business Consulting Inc. and Capital Business Consultants, within the alleged scheme. While Coombe spoke for less than 30 or so minutes, defense attorney Abbe Lowell doubled that time, questioning what proof existed to his client’s guilt. The high-profile lawyer began his opening arguments addressing those in court, with special mention to “members of the Bruno family.” He painted Bruno as a self-made business success story who was repeatedly re-elected 16 times – and hardly conducted his dealings secretly. Rather, he told jurors, Bruno did not as much as violate a state ethic rule, let alone a federal felony. Lowell scrawled words on a paper board to illustrate his points. He said Bruno never had any exchange, applied no pressure to anyone, paid off no one and showed “no hiding of anything required in the state of New York.” Not one document, e-mail, check, phone message or witness for that matter would support the government’s case, Lowell said. While Coombe had alleged Bruno hid details of his consultant work to the state legislative ethics panel, Lowell said Bruno repeatedly kept it informed. And he questioned how Bruno could have broken the law when other Senate staffers – who knew of Bruno’s work – have not been charged. “It is wrong for public officials to violate the public’s trust,” he said. “But it is equally wrong when an innocent man is convicted.” Coombe objected twice during Lowell’s lengthy opening. Sharpe rebuked her twice, noting the lawyer was offering arguments and not evidence. While lawyers were meeting to potentially “expedite” the trial, according to Sharpe, Jurors were sent home without any witnesses being called. The trial resumes Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Staff writer James M. Odato contributed to this story)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get the old fart to talk. That'll rattle the cages!!

Anonymous said...

you are right, get the almost dead people, to tell on all the rest!
make sure he goes after the corrupt who want his job!

Anonymous said...

you are right, get the almost dead people, to tell on all the rest!
make sure he goes after the corrupt who want his job!

Anonymous said...

The FEDS need to take a look at Senator William Larkin Jr. He is from Orange County and I think he is related to Justice John K. McGuirk. McGuirk needs to be investigated for the participating in rigging cases in Orange COunty. Maybe Larkin is dirty too...maybe more..

Anonymous said...

the feds are not helping......
get a case, one you know they will fix, make sure there is another small case going on at the same time...
pass around false information on the first case........
watch to see if the second case gets set up............

let the false information be used in the first case......
watch what happens in the second case.

proves RICO.........

Anonymous said...

"almost dead people" LOL

Anonymous said...

They all beyond in JAIL, period...The time has come to pay the piper, throw away the key!! What a way to spend your senior years in the clinker...Well as least he'll have his bed pan near by...As the saying goes, "You PLAY you PAY".

Anonymous said...

has anyone heard of the ADV,
Almost Dead Voters
they go to the nursing home, help the patients fill out mail in votes, maybe they claim they help them...especially dementia patients........

Anonymous said...

just helping out the Dead Guy,
sounds like our Surrogate Courts!

Anonymous said...

let us see, Mark Congi of Local 91 testified against Bruno
Congi was put in jail by investigations in Maziarz district
hmmm, did Maziarz start this to gain control of the Senate?
then when it didn't happen they staged a coup?
is this guy dirty, everyone in the district says he is......

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how old you have to be to be indicted for corruption in NY?

Anonymous said...

close to 80
unless your a union person than anything goes.......

Anonymous said...

hey gov't guys, since Maziarz loves firehall people from rural communites so much, is that where he gets his information from,
people whose highest level of education is killing pigs!
how apropos!

Anonymous said...

and killing cows
how apropos!

Anonymous said...

hey Napoleon, I mean Maziarz,
bite me!

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2