N.Y. politician extorted businesses to pay son: prosecutor
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos used his official position to cajole companies into giving his son Adam consulting payments, a "no-show" job and a check all worth about $300,000 in exchange for his political favor, prosecutors said on Tuesday as they wrapped up the case against them.
"Beginning in 2010, these two men began a multiyear scheme to corrupt one of the most powerful offices in our state," Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Mukhi said as the three-week trial in New York neared an end. "They did it by turning Senator Skelos' office into a cash cow."
The defense, which has denied the existence of any quid pro quo arrangement, is expected to deliver closing arguments on Wednesday.
Skelos is the second powerful legislative leader to stand trial this year. Former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted last week in the same Manhattan federal court of collecting millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.
Together, the Silver and Skelos prosecutions represent the high point thus far in a broad campaign by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, to root out corruption in the state capital, Albany.
Silver and Skelos were two-thirds of the so-called “three men in a room,” along with the governor, who wield virtually absolute control over major legislation.
Skelos, 67, a Republican, is accused of strong-arming three companies to pay Adam Skelos more than $300,000, knowing they could not refuse.
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