NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A defense attorney has told a jury at the corruption trial of former New York Senate leader Dean Skelos and his adult son that the once-powerful lawmaker never sold his office.
In closing arguments on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, attorney G. Robert Gage denied the Long Island Republican extorted three businesses to get $300,000 in fees and benefits for Adam Skelos. He also attacked the credibility of company executives who agreed to testify for the government in exchange for not being prosecuted.
On Tuesday, prosecutors said Skelos used his office to “strong arm” the businesses. The government says the extortion and bribery scheme unraveled after investigators secretly recorded their phone calls.
Prosecutors call the evidence against Skelos and his son “overwhelming” and “devastating,” WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. They also say the senator supported legislation that would help the companies who paid his son. Any bills Skelos supported were in line with past votes, his lawyer insisted.
In one instance, Adam Skelos never showed up for work, prosecutors said. When his supervisor confronted him, Adam Skelos allegedly threatened to bash him in the head.
Skelos has retained his Senate seat but relinquished his leadership position.
Last week, another once-powerful New York lawmaker, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was convicted on corruption charges. He faces up to 130 years in prison when he is sentenced.
(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)