White-Collar Crime

Once-powerful New York lawmaker, an attorney, is convicted on corruption charges

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Already forced from his state senate leadership position and a law firm job by federal corruption charges, a New York lawmaker on Friday was convicted on all counts by a Manhattan jury, along with his son.

Dean Skelos, 67, had remained a member of the state senate, although he gave up his position as majority leader after his arrest earlier this year. Now he will be automatically expelled as a result of his conviction, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

“We are obviously very disappointed with the verdict,” his lawyer, G. Robert Gage Jr., told the New York Times (reg. req.) outside the courthouse. “The next step is post-trial motions. We intend to pursue them vigorously.”

Skelos, a Republican from Long Island, had insisted he was innocent of the conspiracy, bribery and extortion charges he faced. However, prosecutors said he has misused his legislative position to put pressure on companies to provide jobs and money to his son, Adam Skelos, 33, and the jury apparently agreed.

“The evidence you’ve heard over the last few weeks establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Senator Skelos got these payments for his son through his official powers, his official powers to make or break the companies that paid his son,” prosecutor Rahul Mukhi said during closing arguments. He also said the father had taken official action on behalf of the companies involved, the Times reports.

The conviction was the latest win for the government in a string of corruption cases focused on state lawmakers, and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara indicated he was ready for more prosecutions, if need be, until lawmakers get the message, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The justice system worked today,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday in a written statement. “However, more must be done and will be pursued as part of my legislative agenda.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “NY Senate majority leader is on leave from his law firm job after arrest”

New York Daily News: “Ex-NY Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos spoiled son Adam on road to corruption”

New York Post: “Dean Skelos, son, made thousands for ‘no-show jobs’: feds”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Referral fees from law firms lead to conviction of former New York Assembly speaker”

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