Joe Bruno, the former State Senate majority leader, was found guilty of two felony mail fraud counts; he was found not guilty of five more, and jurors could not reach a verdict on one last count.
The guilty verdicts were on counts related to Bruno’s business dealings with Jared Abbruzzese.
“I am very, very disappointed in the verdict,” Bruno said. “The legal process is going to continue. In my mind and in my heart, it is not over until it’s over. And I think it’s far from over. Thank you all, have a good night and merry Christmas.”
“The prosecutors and agents involved in this case take no pleasure from what the trial revealed about the culture of the New York State Senate under the leadership of Joseph L. Bruno,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Baxter said.
“It was very hard to convict him when he’s done so much for the area,” said jury forewoman Patricia Hurley-Dyer, a teacher at Lansingburgh High School. “But we couldn’t look at that. Our job was to decide the case based on the evidence presented to us.”
Bruno was convicted under the “honest services” section of the federal mail fraud statute, which is being challenged today in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chris Callaghan, former Republican comptroller candidate, said this law is “an unfortunate abuse of federal power.”
Fred Dicker says this might finally spur a tightening of state laws.
“If this isn’t a tipping point, I don’t know what is,” said NYPIRG’s Blair Horner.
“Rather than watchdogs, they’ve acted as pet lapdogs to the politically powerful,” writes David Grandeau, the former head of the Lobbying Commission, saying that it’s not the law, but lax enforcement is responsible for these ethical lapses.
Indeed, Bruno’s in good company.
“The rules are worse than bad,” the Times Union writes. “They’re corrupt.”
Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron agrees, saying it’s time to “fill the Bruno gap.”
Republican Senator John Bonacic said it’s a “clarion call.”
The News says the verdict “nailed Albany for the polluted swamp that it is.”
Larry Littlefield says it’s our generation’s equivalent of nailing Al Capone for income tax evastion.
The Times lauds Tom DiNapoli’s work on sharing government services.
32BJ is still pushing, unabashedly, for IDA restructuring with a prevailing wage clause.
The News warns city council members to “proceed with care” on Kingsbridge Armory.
The Public Integrity Commission smacked Pat Lynch and Bill Powers for filing disclosure forms late.
And below, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand opposes the Stupak amendment: