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Friday, March 6, 2009

Lawyers Support Embattled Bruno, Ignore Widespread Corruption

Lawyers support embattled Bruno
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." 

The group includes Michael D. Assaf, Jack Casey, Jim Crane, Harry Dagostino, Patricia DeAngelis, Marc Ehrlich, Andrew Martin and James Towne. Many "Lawyers for Bruno" members have benefited from business or political ties to the ex-senator. "I don't think people appreciate just how amorphous this allegation is and how lacking in substance it is," Jones said. "It is a non-disclosure crime he's charged with here; he's accused of not disclosing information that did not help or hurt anybody. There's no quid pro quo, no crime charged." William Pericak, assistant U.S. Attorney in the Bruno prosecution, said: "we have no comment on that." His office has defended the charges against Bruno as part of anti-corruption legislation passed by Congress to keep public officials honest.


Anonymous said...

The bigger issue is the rampant corruption, in our courts and in our lawmakers' offices. Shame on these lawyers for invoking an 'obligation' as an 'Officer of the Court' when they keep mum after seeing crimes be committed by judges, court clerks and fellow lawyers. They can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

from the story I know, one of these lawyers standing up as almighty here for bruno here completely sold out his own Ch. 13 Client in the Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District, failed to make timely notifications to his own client, failed to make fundamental equity arguments in bankruptcy court, withheld documents from his own Ch. 13 client, then refused to come in to the Ch. 13 court when he was still the attorney of record. funny how he has Jack Casey standing next to him who has been on the Standards Committee. Did Casey do anything about that?

it takes a lot to break down the old and long walls of systemic corruption but it is long overdue. many wonder how these folks sleep at night with the way so many cases have been orchestrated over the years and having protection all the way up the food chain.

guess those days are over or soon to be finally over.

Anonymous said...

that Ch. 13 lawyer would be marc ehrlich, sort of a funny one to join this group but maybe he was forced to since he is from troy and has ties to another judge alleged to be in the stable.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea.

Every attorney connected to Bruno should sign on.

Anonymous said...

They are circling the wagons.

Could it be that Bruno told this motley crew that if he goes down they will go down with him because they are all part of the ongoing corruption in Albany and he can't cover for them any longer?

Steve Coffey also serves as Vice Chairman of the NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct. He was appointed by Joe Bruno in 1995 no doubt to cover corrupt judges' asses (and there are many) while his brother, Peter Coffey was appointed by Joe Bruno to the NY State Legislative Ethics Commission no doubt to cover the asses of corrupt Legislators.

Bruno liked to cover all the bases.

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