Dean Skelos

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Corruption Retrial Of Dean Skelos, Son Goes To Jury

July 12, 2018 - 11:44 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The corruption retrial of former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, went to the jury Thursday.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood instructed the jury Thursday, and the panel then started working toward a verdict.

Using information gethered from three weeks of arguments, testimony, and evidence, the jury will decide if Dean Skelos traded his political clout to benefit his son.

The father and son were captured on wiretaps being cagey and using vague terms. They referred to, “that guy,” and, “the other thing.”

At another point, Dean said, “We are in dangerous times, Adam.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McKay asked the jury why, and then he answered his own question, “because this is a crime.”

The government contends that Skelos used his powerful position to help Adam land lucrative no-show jobs.

Dean Skelos' lawyer told the jury there was nothing corrupt or criminal and that he simply asked his friends to hire Adam, but prosecutors said these weren't friendly requests, these were shakedowns. They claim Adam was paid $300,000 for no-show jobs and then his father would pull legislative strings.

The jury heard testimony from Anthony Bonomo, the chief executive officer for an insurance company, who described how Adam Skelos stopped turning up for a $78,000-a-year sales job. But he testified he didn't consider firing him because he "didn't want Adam's problem to become a wedge for our legislative pursuits in Albany."

Another witness, title company partner Tom Dwyer, testified that he was the bag man for a real estate developer who decided to give Adam Skelos a $20,000 bribe disguised as a referral fee for title insurance. He said he delivered the cash in an envelope during 2013 lunch on Long Island.

The developer, Charles Dorego, made the payment "to get the senator off his back," McKay said.

Skelos, 70, testified in his own defense last week, telling the jury he was constantly worried about a son who had emotional struggles as a child and financial woes as an adult. He claimed he was merely asking the businessmen to help out as friends.

"I didn't see a problem with it," he said. "I asked a lot of people to help my son."

The father and son were convicted in 2015 of extortion, conspiracy and bribery. But 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 Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)