Former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is set to be sentenced on Thursday, becoming the second legislative leader this month to face potential prison time following a high-profile crackdown on corruption in the state’s capital.
Skelos, who was convicted in December on extortion, fraud and bribe solicitation charges, and his son, Adam Skelos, will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan.
Prosecutors are seeking a prison term approaching 12-1/2 to 15-2/3 years for Skelos, 68. They said he forced companies lobbying for legislation or seeking a government contract to pay his 33-year-old son hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Both men have denied wrongdoing and are expected to appeal their convictions.
The proceedings come a week after another judge sentenced former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, long one of the state’s most powerful politicians, to 12 years in prison for collecting millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks.
Their convictions represented major wins in a broad anti-corruption campaign by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has criticized Albany for having “one of the most corrupt governments in the nation.”
At least 14 New York state legislators have been convicted of federal corruption-related crimes in the last 10 years, prosecutors said, including John Sampson, a former leader of the Senate Democrats who is set to be sentenced next week.
Prosecutors said Dean Skelos sought to use his position to extract payments for Adam Skelos, bullying and threatening companies that feared losing his support.
The companies, which have not been charged, included real estate developer Glenwood Management, environmental technology company AbTech Holdings Inc and malpractice insurer PRI.
Through those schemes, prosecutors said, the Skeloses sought more than $760,000 in extortion payments, bribes, and gratuities and ultimately obtained more than $334,000.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)
Source: Reuters US