Judgment Day: Bruno to Be Sentenced in Fraud Case

Feds want 8 years

Thursday, May 6, 2010  |  Updated 7:15 AM EDT
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Judgment Day: Bruno to Be Sentenced in Fraud Case

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Time to face the music.

Joseph Bruno, once one of the most powerful political figures in New York, is set to be sentenced on two federal fraud counts.

The 81-year-old Bruno was the Republican leader of the state Senate for 13 years, controlling that chamber's legislation and billions of dollars in spending.

He was convicted last year of using his office to help a businessman who paid him as a consultant and in a horse venture, violations of the federal "honest services'' law.

Prosecutors say he should get more than eight years in prison when he's sentenced Thursday afternoon.

His lawyer is asking for probation and a fine, noting Bruno's compromised health and history of civic and charitable activities.

He has agreed to pay $280,000 in restitution. The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the honest services statute.

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.

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.
 

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