With great power comes great responsibility. A man once at the top of political power in Albany faces corruption charges along with his son.
The New York Post reports that former New York State Senate majority leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam will be back in court this summer for a public corruption retrial starting on June 18.
Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood set June 18 for their public corruption retrial. Allegations of nepotism led to the original trial and conviction of both the father and son on charges that Dean Skelos used his power to create no-show jobs for his son, positions created as a means of giving a friend, ally, family member, and so on a salary for doing no work.
Skelos successfully challenged his conviction last September because of a US Supreme Court ruling that narrowed what constitutes official bribery. The widely publicized case and ruling involved former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. The New York federal appeals court said the jury wound up with improper instructions.
His predecessor, longtime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had his separate corruption conviction tossed on similar grounds but was recently convicted in court again in regards to multimillion dollar bribery schemes.
Newsday reports that at the first trial, prosecutors convicted Dean and Adam Skelos for leveraging the senator’s power to get jobs and fees for Adam worth $300,000 from developer Glenwood Management, Nassau County storm water contractor AbTech Industries, and an affiliate of Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, a Roslyn malpractice insurer.
Legal experts cited by Newsday say the new standard set by the Supreme Court precedent will make the government’s task somewhat more difficult by limiting arguments that any special treatment or favors the former Republican leader provided in his official capacity qualified as “official acts.”
“It is more challenging,” said Paul Krieger, a former Manhattan federal prosecutor to Newsday. “The government’s path to conviction is narrower. In presenting a case to a jury the government likes to give them options and bars that are not so high to clear,” he explained to Newsday.
Some experts caution that a different outcome shouldn’t be expected, especially because the appeals court that reversed the case said there was “abundant” evidence on which a jury could still convict under the new standard.
Newsday says to look out for the following differences in court the second time around.
“Prosecutors will focus more intently on Skelos’ votes on rent, real estate and malpractice legislation in connection with the title-insurance work Adam Skelos got through Glenwood and his hiring at PRI and will try to prove the senator ‘pressured’ Nassau officials to take actions favorable to Abtech, rather than just making calls. The defense will try to emphasize evidence that the senator’s votes on matters affecting Glenwood and PRI didn’t change over the years, to convince jurors that he didn’t shift in exchange for help to Adam.”
Newsday adds that Wood told lawyers she’ll delay opening statements and the start of testimony until Wednesday while jury selection concludes.
By: Haley Kingston
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