Skelos and Son Plead Not Guilty to Corruption

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son pleaded not guilty to six counts of public-corruption charges at a 15-minute hearing Monday.
     Now stripped of his post as the Senate’s top Republican lawmaker, Skelos has long denied allegations that he used bribery and extortion to land no-show jobs that enriched his son to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
     Prosecutors unveiled those charges in a May 4 criminal complaint centering around a real-estate developer and a fracking contractor that the New York Times has identified as the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based AbTech.
     The indictment returned last week by a grand jury mostly tracks the criminal complaint, but adds a new alleged conspiracy involving a medical malpractice insurer.
     Attorneys for Skelos and his son Adam formally entered not-guilty pleas to the charges Monday before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood.
     Suggesting an extensive discovery process ahead, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Mukhi estimated that it would take three weeks to give the defense “hundreds of thousands” consisting of “millions of pages.”
     The “vast majority” of this stash consists of emails, but the defense will also have to sift through wiretaps, bank records and phone records, Mukhi added.
     Prosecutors say they have recorded on conversation in which Sen. Skelos bragged about the powers of his office.
     “I’m going to be president of the Senate,” Skelos said, according to the criminal complaint. “I’m going to be majority leader. I’m going to control everything. I’m going to control who gets on what committees, what legislation goes to the floor, what legislation comes through committees, the budget, everything.”
     Manhattan-based attorneys for the Skeloses waived readings of the indictments before their swift arraignments.
     Robert Gage of Gage, Spencer & Fleming entered the plea for the ex-state Senate leader, while Christopher Conniff of the Ropes & Gray spoke for the senator’s son.
     Neither attorney spoke to the press after the hearing.

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