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Former Senate Leader Skelos and son sentenced to prison


Former State Senate leader Dean Skelos was sentenced to four years and three months in prison Wednesday, after he and his son Adam were convicted on charges of extortion and bribery.  

Skelos was convicted of illegally using his political connections to get jobs for his son Adam from companies that did business with the state. Adam was paid $300,000 for the employment, even though in some of the positions, prosecutors showed that he seldom did any work.

It is the second time the father and son have been sentenced to prison, the first conviction was overturned on appeal, but they were reconvicted of the crimes earlier this year.

Federal Judge Kimba Wood told Skelos he caused “immeasurable damage” to New Yorkers’ respect for state government, but that '' she was giving him one year less than the previous sentence she gave to him, citing Skelos age of 70 and his health issues. But she told Skelos she tacked on the three additional months because he lied on the witness stand.

Defense attorneys had sought leniency, saying Dean Skelos provides emotional support for his two autistic grandchildren, who he is now raising, along with his wife.  

The current Senate Leader, John Flanagan, in a statement says there must be “zero tolerance for any politician who abuses the public trust”.  Flanagan says while he served with Skelos and is sorry for his family, the former Senate Leader must  “ pay for the crimes that he committed”.

Adam Skelos, at a separate sentencing later in the day, received four years in prison.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.