Closing Arguments Wrap Up in Bruno Corruption Trial

What the Bruno trial tells us about Albany

Monday, Nov 23, 2009  |  Updated 3:53 PM EDT
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Closing Arguments Wrap Up in Bruno Corruption Trial

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Then-Senate Majority Leader Senator Joseph L. Bruno is seen at a news conference in this file photo from last March.

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The defense attorney for former state Senate leader Joseph Bruno says the corruption case against the Republican amounts to an indictment in search of an actual crime.
    
Bruno attorney Abbey David Lowell told a jury Monday in his closing argument that the federal prosecutor hasn't show that Bruno ever used his powerful political position to help his private consulting business.

Bruno was indicted on eight counts and faces up to 20 years behind bars if convicted. He's accused of using his state influence to enrich himself and deny New Yorkers his honest services.
    
Earlier, prosecutor William Pericak argued that Bruno schemed to exploit his political position to get rich.
    
Outside the federal courtroom in Albany, Bruno called the prosecution's closing argument a distortion of the facts. Bruno insists he broke no laws.
    
The jury could get the case Monday evening.

In testimony last week,  a business associate of Bruno's, Jared Abbruzzese, said he first approached the politican about consulting while flying home from West Palm Beach, Fla., following a golf weekend in 2004.
    
Abbruzzese, an investor in technology companies, says Bruno was paid $20,000 a month for almost two years. He later agreed to pay Bruno $80,000 for an undersized racehorse when the consultancy ended early.
   
Bruno ran the Senate chamber like a business – and he ran his private business within it, according to The New York Times. His longtime secretary spent her nights and weekends managing the powerful politician's private business, and lawyers who worked for the state Senate in the decade and a half that Bruno ran the show drew up his business agreements and gave professional advice to his clients.

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