Dean Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York Senate, and his son were found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday. The New York Times called it “a quick and devastating follow-up punch to the State Capitol, which has seen two entrenched leaders convicted and removed from office in less than two weeks.” The federal jury in Manhattan took eight hours over two days to reach its verdict against Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam, 33, finding them guilty of all eight bribery, extortion and conspiracy counts. The Skeloses used the father's position as majority leader to pressure a developer, an environmental technology company and a medical malpractice insurer to provide Adam Skelos with roughly $300,000 via consulting work, a no-show job and a direct payment of $20,000.
Dean Skelos, a Republican from Long Island, had been one of the most powerful men in state government. His conviction, along with that of longtime Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, is sure to have repercussions beyond the courtroom. As in Silver's case, the verdict resulted in Skelos's expulsion from the State Legislature, where both men had served for more than three decades. The convictions of Skelos and Silver were a resounding victory for Preet Bharara, the U. S. Attorney in Manhattan, whose office prosecuted both cases and whose work has led to the conviction of 11 legislators in six years. Bharara said on Twitter: “How many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?”