Bruno's Sentencing Postponed, New Trial Denied

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 10:13 AM EDT
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Bruno's Sentencing Postponed, New Trial Denied

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Former GOP leader in New York, Joseph Bruno.

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A federal judge has granted a defense request to postpone sentencing former New York Senate leader Joseph Bruno on two fraud convictions until May 6, while denying his request for a new trial.
    
U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe says defense attorneys failed to show the evidence was either nonexistent or unreasonably meager and he refused to vacate the convictions.
    
Attorney William Dreyer, requesting a monthlong delay in order to gather materials about the sentencing, notes he and prosecutors have settled Bruno's forfeiture amount. He did not specify how much money is involved.

Bruno, 80, had appealed the fraud convictions under the "honest services" statute, which is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in three other cases. He was acquitted on five counts with the jury divided on a sixth.

In the meantime, Bruno quit his job as a consultant with CMA Consulting Services in suburban Albany. President Kay Stafford resumed that role. She hired Bruno in 2008 after he retired as leader of the Senate's Republican majority and a Rensselaer County lawmaker.

The information technology company also has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix and Austin, Texas.

Many of New York's 212 lawmakers, who make at least $79,500 in their part-time jobs, have outside employment. Bruno and his attorneys argued that the federal court was the wrong place to put on trial that entire system, where conflicts of interest are inevitable. They said Bruno did not put his own interests before the public's and that any conflicts or perceived conflicts were insignificant.

During Buno's trial last year, the jury heard three weeks of testimony from more than 70 witnesses. Bruno declined to testify, instead standing in front of cameras on the courthouse steps confidently repeating that he had done nothing wrong.

Bruno was convicted of mail fraud for checks sent by Communication Technology Advisors and Capital & Technology Advisors to Capital Business Consultants, Bruno's later consulting company. The companies' majority owner was Jared Abbruzzese, a Bruno friend and business associate. Bruno sponsored state grants for Evident Technologies, a company in which Abbruzzese was an investor.

Bruno also was convicted of mail fraud for a $40,000 check sent from Bazaguma LLC, Abbruzzese's thoroughbred business, to Business Consultants, Bruno's consulting firm, for a foal that came from a joint breeding venture by Bruno, Abbruzzese and a third partner.
 

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