A powerful New York State legislative leader was allegedly recorded complaining about his calls being recorded — while his conversation was being recorded.
Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R) and his son, Adam Skelos, were arrested Monday on federal corruption charges. US Attorney Preet Bharara accused them of a orchestrating a scheme that led to Adam Skelos getting a job in exchange for government sewer contracts and other favours.
According to The New York Times, in one taped conversation, Adam Skelos said he landed the job even though he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff.”
In the aftermath of the high-profile January arrest of then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), Bharara’s office said the Skelos family started becoming more wary about the prospect of federal agents listening in to their conversations. Adam Skelos is accused of obtaining a self-described “burner” phone in order to avoid detection, for example.
He apparently didn’t take enough steps to avoid federal wiretaps, however.
According to the indictment, Adam Skelos was caught in an “intercepted call” telling his father it was unfortunate he couldn’t get any “real advice” because “you can’t talk normally because it’s like f—ing Preet Bharara is listening to every f—ing phone call. It’s just f—ing frustrating.”
To this, Dean Skelos allegedly responded, “It is.”
Adam Skelos seemed to have other potentially questionable ideas for avoiding detection. According to the complaint, the younger Skelos at one point suggested using Apple’s “FaceTime” video chatting software because it “doesn’t show up on the phone bill, just the data plan.”
For his part, Dean Skelos pleaded not guilty and vowed to clear his name.
“I am innocent of the charges leveled against me. I am not saying I am just not guilty, I am saying that I am innocent,” Skelos said in a Monday statement. “I fully expect to be exonerated by a public jury trial.”
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