You get a good idea of what federal prosecutors were up against from the comments by a pair of jurors in the Joe Bruno federal fraud case in Albany where there’s a bronze bust of the former top Republican at the airport and a stadium that bears his name.
“It was very hard to convict him when he’s done so much for the area,” jury forewoman Patricia Hurley-Dyer, a local high school teacher told the Albany Times-Union.
Another member of the panel, Julie Gardner, a mother of three who works for an insurance firm, described Bruno as an “honorable man” who also did a lot for the Capital Region. “Otherwise, he would not have been elected as many times as he was,” she said.
In the end, the silver-haired Bruno’s good guy image wasn’t enough, however.
After deliberating for seven days, the jury found the veteran upstate senator guilty on two charges of concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultant fees that he received from a business partner who also had business pending before the state. The panel acquitted him on five other counts and couldn’t make up its mind on another.
The two counts that Bruno went down on involved his fellow horse enthusiast pal, businessman Jared Abbruzzese who hired Bruno as a consultant.
Juror Gardner told the paper that “There was not enough of a defense to show why Bruno was given certain checks that he was given” by Abbruzzese. “The amount did not trouble me,” said Gardner, who works at an insurance company call center. “But the biggest thing was that it was money that I did not feel he had earned. And he did get things in return, or at least I thought so.”