x

Politics

Prosecutor: Greed Corrupted Ex-state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and Son

June 22, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — A prosecutor told a jury at the opening of a criminal trial Wednesday that former New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos and his son were motivated by greed when they pressured businesses to funnel over $300,000 to the son.

Defense lawyers disputed the claims of Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind, saying Skelos and his son Adam did nothing wrong in dealings that brought an unnatural halt to the 70-year-old Republican’s legislative career.

Zolkind said the case was “about the abuse of political power to satisfy personal greed.”

He accused the elder Skelos of following a “pattern of old fashioned political corruption” when he “strong-armed” three businesses into enriching his son through consulting work, a no-show job and a payment of $20,000.

The businesses included one of New York’s biggest real estate developers, an Arizona-based company that removed toxins from storm water and a medical malpractice insurance company. Zolkind said laws passed by New York’s legislature were crucial to company profits and Dean Skelos was pivotal to the process.

Attorney G. Robert Gage Jr., representing Dean Skelos, said his client was “not guilty and, in fact, innocent.” He said that when Skelos asked for help for his son, he “never did so with criminal intent.”

Attorney Julian Brod, representing Adam Skelos, said there was never a corrupt agreement between the defendants and the business representatives they supposedly pressured.

The character of Adam Skelos was a subject of opening statements after Zolkind said evidence will include proof that Adam Skelos threatened to “bash the skull” of his supervisor and told him he “wasn’t fit to shine his shoes” when the executive complained that he wasn’t showing up for work at a job that was arranged corruptly by his father.

Gage said Adam Skelos can “on occasion … be a very volatile man, can go off the rails.”

Brod told jurors not to penalize his client for his behavior, conceding he was “not employee of the month” and said some things to his boss that “Adam should be, and is, ashamed of.”

“That’s what happens when your whole life spills out in a courtroom,” Brod said. “He’s not always his own best friend.”

The men were convicted in 2015 of extortion, conspiracy and bribery. Dean Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison. His son got 6½ years. But neither served time.

A new trial was ordered by a federal appeals court in Manhattan after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the law regarding public corruption as it reversed the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The trial is likely to last a month.


By LARRY NEUMEISTER , Associated Press

RELATED

LONDON - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a meeting with Greeks of the diaspora while in London on Wednesday, during which he highlighted the options that Greeks living abroad now have to vote in Greek elections from their place of residence, as well as his government's emphasis on reforms.

Top Stories

Politics

BOSTON – The newly-elected mayor of Somerville, a town adjacent to Boston and Cambridge, Katjana Ballantyne, was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States at the age of four.

Associations

ATHENS – A new initiative to unite the commercial elements of the Hellenic Diaspora with each other and with Greece was launched on January 10 at the Athens War Museum.

Politics

ANKARA - After declaring he wants a step back toward diplomacy from aggression against Greece, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down on the tough talk and provocations, going after Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and sending fighter jets into Greek airspace.

Video

White House: Russia Prepping Pretext for Ukraine Invasion

WASHINGTON — US intelligence officials have determined a Russian effort is underway to create a pretext for its troops to further invade Ukraine, and Moscow has already prepositioned operatives to conduct "a false-flag operation" in eastern Ukraine, according to the White House.