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Former NYS Senate leader Skelos guilty again

Mary Atlaffer
Associated Press
Dean Skelos (center) and his wife Gail (second from right) leave federal court Tuesday after his conviction.

A former New York State Senate leader and his son have been convicted of bribery and extortion charges at their federal corruption trial.

 A jury reached the verdict on Tuesday in the case against Dean Skelos and his son, Adam.

The two were accused of selling the once-powerful Republican's office by pressuring wealthy businessmen into giving Skelos' son roughly $300,000 for no-show jobs. Prosecutors said the payments were bribes intended to win support for legislation favored by the businesses.

The defense sought to portray the elder Skelos as a doting father who was merely trying to look out for a child struggling to find employment. Defense lawyers argued that there was no bribery because the ex-senator never took official action for any of the businessmen.

The Skeloses were initially convicted in December 2015 of extortion and bribery in an alleged scheme by the elder Skelos to use his political influence to steer work and to award a no-show job to his son. But that conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court in September of 2017.

It was the second time in weeks that the conviction of a former legislative leader had been overturned on appeal, and the second time that a re-trial resulted again in a conviction

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in July saw his 2015 conviction on bribery and kickback charges rescinded. He was found guilty in May after a second jury trial.

Both former legislative leaders benefited from a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that occurred after their trials. It reversed corruption charges against McDonnell and his wife. The court ruled that federal attorneys had interpreted the law too broadly, and that the jury was not properly instructed on the meaning of an “official act” within the federal bribery statutes.

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