Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara announced on Friday that Dean Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York State Senate, was found guilty on all charges.
Skelos and his son were accused of bribery, extortion, and conspiracy charges related to an alleged scheme to deliver consulting payments and a no-show job the younger Skelos, who was also found guilty on all charges.
The convictions are especially striking because Sheldon Silver, the longtime speaker of the New York State Assembly, was also convicted on political corruption charges less than two weeks ago.
Silver and Skelos were part of the powerful “three men in a room” that governed the state, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
In his statement announcing the Skelos conviction, Bharara said the two trials should be a wake-up call for Albany, which has seen a series of convictions of lower-profile state lawmakers.
“The swift convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos beg an important question — how many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?” Bharara asked.
According to the Associated Press, “more than 30 New York state lawmakers have left office facing criminal charges or allegations of ethical misconduct since 2000”:
In just the past five years, a lawmaker was convicted of taking bribes from a carnival promoter. A second filed thousands of dollars in expense claims for days he never even went to Albany. A third got a sham marriage in order to become a citizen. A fourth was accused of harassing female staffers and forcing one to touch cancerous tumours on his neck and armpit.
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