Bruno re-indicted in federal court | People
ALBANY - Two and a half years after he walked away with five not guilty and two guilty verdicts in his first trial, the now 83 year old Joe Bruno once again was walking into federal court.
Last time he always stopped to say hello and to proclaim his innocence. This time, both going in and later coming out, Bruno said nothing. His attorneys say that's what they firmly advised.
The superseding indictment concerns Bruno's dealing with local businessman Jared Abbruzzese.
The government alleges that from 2004 to 2006 Bruno, at the time State Senate Majority Leader, devised a scheme to deprive the state and its citizens of his honest services through bribery and kickbacks.
The indictment claims Bruno solicited payments from Abbruzzese totaling 440-thousand dollars while performing almost no work or turning over anything of significant value.
Prosecutors declined comment. The two guilty verdicts they obtained in December 2009 were set aside after the U.S. Supreme Court determined part of the Honest Services law used to convict Bruno and others was faulty.
Bruno's attorneys William Dreyer and E. Stewart Jones vowed a vigorous fight.
"It appears to be exactly the same indictment that Joe Bruno went to trial on the last time except instead of failure to disclose the words bribery and kickbacks are now substituted," Dreyer said.
"There is no truth to what is in that indictment," Jones told reporters. "There was never a bribe. There was never a kickback. This indictment will never be proven because there's no factual truth to the allegations."
Dreyer and Jones said they hope to convince Judge Gary Sharpe to dismiss the charges during pre-trial motion conferences.
No dates have yet been set for further court proceedings.