NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jurors at the corruption trial of former New York state Senate Dean Skelos leader got a taste of smash-mouth politics Wednesday.
A witness testified that the politician’s son threatened to smash his head in if he again criticized the son for failing to show up for what had become a no-show job.
Chris Curcio’s testimony, a day after opening statements in the Manhattan U.S. District Court trial of Sen. Skelos, 67, and his 33-year-old son Adam, came as prosecutors sought to show that the father-son team put their interests to earn the son over $300,000 from businesses dependent on legislative support.
Curcio, vice president of sales and marketing at a medical malpractice insurer, said Adam Skelos rarely came to work after he was hired in January 2013. Prosecutors contend his hiring was a favor to his father, then the state’s most powerful Republican.
Curcio said he called Adam Skelos midway through the year to get him to show up in the office and he seemed receptive.
Shortly afterward, Adam Skelos called back with a different tone, Curcio recalled.
“Let’s stop pretending,” Curcio said the son told him. “Guys like you aren’t fit to shine my shoes. And if you talk to me like that again, I’ll smash your (expletive) head in.”
Later in the day, prosecutors introduced tapes of phone calls between the father and son as the government tried to show how brazen the father and son had become.
One conversation came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last December that the state would not be lifting its moratorium on the gas drilling technique knowns as fracking.
Adam Skelos, already receiving $10,000 monthly from an environmental technology company, would have gotten a percentage of income derived from fracking contracts, testimony revealed.
“Ahhh! This day sucks!” Adam Skelos said in a taped conversation played for the jury.
“It does. Well, we’re going to totally focus on that other thing now. OK?” Dean Skelos replied.
“Yeah. Oh my god,” Adam Skelos said.
Prosecutors have said the “other thing” was income the son derived from helping obtain stormwater projects for the environmental company.
In another conversation played for jurors, the son urged his father to run for governor against Cuomo, a suggestion Dean Skelos did not discourage.
The elder Skelos stepped down from his leadership post following his arrest, but continues to serve in the Senate.
Dean and Adam Skelos have pleaded not guilty, and their lawyers have told jurors they did not act illegally.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)