TimesUnion.com on May 30, 2012 released the following:
“Jury selection for second trial of ex-Senate majority leader set to begin Feb. 4 in Albany
By Brendan J. Lyons
ALBANY — The second criminal trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno is scheduled to begin in February.
A federal judge on Tuesday met with federal prosecutors and Bruno’s defense attorneys for the first time since Bruno was indicted May 3 on two felony mail fraud charges. The attorneys discussed the scheduling of pre-trial motions, and the judge set a Feb. 4 trial date.
Bruno is charged with depriving the state of his honest services by allegedly using his political leverage to benefit a business associate and friend, Jared E. Abbruzzese of Loudonville.
Bruno’s dealings with Abbruzzese led to a conviction on two counts of honest services fraud at Bruno’s first trial, which ended in December 2009. The law used to convict Bruno was later retooled by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared honest services convictions must include allegations of a bribe or kickback, and Bruno’s conviction was vacated last fall.
A mid-level appeals court in Manhattan rejected Bruno’s arguments that he not face a second trial. The panel ruled there was enough evidence to support a new indictment, and the court ruled federal prosecutors could seek new charges on a theory that Bruno had received kickbacks.
Bruno, 83, did not attend Tuesday’s meeting in the chambers of U.S. District Senior Judge Gary L. Sharpe, according to court minutes.
In May 2010, Sharpe sentenced Bruno to two years in prison for his conviction on two of the eight counts of honest services fraud contained in the earlier indictment. The sentence was vacated after Bruno’s 2009 conviction was overturned.
The new indictment alleges Bruno received $440,000 in payments from Abbruzzese that were “disguised as ‘consulting’ payments and $80,000 in payments for a virtually worthless horse.”
The investigation of Bruno, called Operation Green Pastures, began in late 2005 when FBI agents started examining his use of private jet aircraft supplied by Abbruzzese, his horse-breeding partner. Abbruzzese flew Bruno to Kentucky horse country, New York City and exclusive Florida golf resorts — including trips that were largely bankrolled by Abbruzzese.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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