Source: The New York Times
Roughly three weeks after their arrest in a federal corruption case, Dean G. Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York Senate, and his son were indicted by a grand jury on Thursday on charges of extortion, wire fraud, conspiracy and bribe solicitation.
The accusations in the six-count indictment handed up in United States District Court in Manhattan largely track the six counts in the criminal complaint that was the basis of the May 4 arrests of the senator and his son, Adam B. Skelos.
The indictment, however, includes one additional accusation: that the senator secured over $100,000 in payments and health benefits from a medical malpractice insurer that provided his son with a no-show job while it lobbied the senator on legislative matters.
The 22-page indictment, brought by the office of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, does not name the insurer and provides no further details.
The indictment, following the outlines of the criminal complaint, says the senator and his son “engaged in a corrupt scheme to monetize Dean Skelos’s official position to obtain for Adam Skelos hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, gratuities and extortion payments from campaign donors to Dean Skelos or companies with business before the state.”
At the heart of the charges against Senator Skelos, a Republican from Long Island, is the accusation that he took official actions to benefit a small Arizona environmental company, AbTech Industries, and a large New York developer, Glenwood Management, that had financial ties to AbTech. Senator Skelos agreed to do so, according to the charges, as long as the companies paid his son.
G. Robert Gage Jr., a lawyer for the senator, and Christopher P. Conniff, who represents the senator’s son, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After the two men were arrested, Senator Skelos said, “I know that I will be found not only not guilty but innocent.” He said he had “absolute confidence and respect for our judicial system,” and added, “that’s why I will be found innocent and my son will,” too.
At the time, Adam Skelos’s lawyer said that his client was not guilty of the charges and “looks forward to fighting them in a courtroom.”
The grand jury’s action against Mr. Skelos and his son moves the corruption case toward trial and suggests there is little prospect of plea negotiations at this stage.
The senator stepped down from his leadership post a week after his arrest. A few days earlier, he had taken a leave of absence from the law firm where he served as “of counsel.” (The criminal complaint against him said he had earned $2.6 million there since 1994, despite apparently doing no actual legal work; he was paid instead for referring clients, some of whom had business before the state.)
Source: The New York Times