Joe Bruno Down for the Count: Guilty on Two Charges
Joe Bruno - legendary former leader of the New York State Senate - is guilty of two counts - and not guilty of five others. The jury - after seven days of deliberations and hearing repeated testimony readbacks - announced its verdict just after 4PM. The jury said that it couldn't decide on an additional eighth crime charged against the former state senate boss in Albany federal court.
He faces 20 years and $250,000 fine on each conviction. Sentencing is set for March 31.
Bruno was charged with stealing his own honest services from taxpayers by taking $3.2 million in consultant fees from wealthy businessmen with business before state government and steering labor unions seeking Bruno's help to an investment firm employing the senate boss.
The jury found that Bruno did no legitimate work in exchange for eleven payments he received from businessman Jared Abbruzzese, who owns several telecommunications firms. Bruno was also convicted of failing to disclose his participation in a race horse partnership with Abbruzzese.
Bruno is not pleased. He told reporters outside the courthouse that he is "very, very disappointed in the verdict I just heard," according to Irene Liu of the Albany Times-Union. The 80 year old horse-riding ex-boxer also said he's not done fighting and suggested he will appeal. "The legal process will continue. It's not over until it's over, and I truly believe it's not over.
It is also noted that the verdict came shortly after Republican political consultant extraordinaire and top Bruno ally Roger Stone announced on his blog that the jury was hopelessly hung. Stone also described the judge in the case, Gary Sharpe, as "a hard-drinking former U.S. attorney."
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