Speed reading the coverage of the Joe Bruno guilty verdict

joe_bruno.jpgWe've sifted through the coverage of Joe Bruno's conviction on federal corruption charges.

Here are a bunch of the quick-scan highlights...

+ The jury found Bruno guilty on two of the eight counts in his indictment. They found him not guilty on five others, and they were stuck on another. [Buffalo News]

+ Here's a breakdown of all the counts. The counts on which Bruno was found guilty are both mail fraud.

+ Said the jury forewoman, a teacher from Lansingburgh, to the TU, "It was very hard to convict him when he's done so much for the area."

+ Those two counts also involve Loudonville businessman Jared Abbruzzese:

Count 4 alleged that Bruno took $200,000 from two Abbruzzese companies for "consulting" -- though prosecutors argued this money was actually just a gift. (indictment page 23)
Count 8 alleged that Bruno, through his Mountain View Farm, sold a virtually worthless horse to Abbruzzese for $80,000 -- prosecutors argued the sale was compensation for a canceled consulting contract between Bruno and an another telecommunications company with which Abbruzzese was involved. (indictment page 24)

Abbruzzese testified during the trial -- under an immunity agreement -- that he had brought in Bruno for the state senator's contacts and "aura." He admitted to buying the horse from Bruno in order to settle a "moral obligation" regarding the canceled consulting contract. [TU] [Troy Record]

+ Bruno now faces up to 40 years in jail and fines of up to $500k. The judge has broad discretion for sentencing, though. [DOJ/TPM] [NYT]

+ Sentencing is scheduled for March 31. [@timesunion]

+ As he exited the courthouse yesterday, Bruno apparently looked "pale and shaken." He said to reporters: "It's not over till it's over and I think it's far from over." [Daily Politics] [Troy Record]

+ Bruno's spokesman released a statement last night: "As many of us know, Joe Bruno is a fighter. He will battle long and hard to clear his name and reputation." [Troy Record]

+ The Supreme Court of the United States will soon be hearing cases related to the "theft of honest services" law under which Bruno was prosecuted. With that in mind, a Bruno spokesman said yesterday, "We're confident that things will look differently very soon." [NYT] [Buffalo News]

+ The NYDN's Ken Lovett: "Former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's conviction on federal corruption charges has sent a chill down the spine of pols in anything-goes Albany." [NYDN]

+ Said NYPIRG's Blair Horner of the verdict: "If it shed any light on Albany, it is a red light, because everything is for sale." [NYDN]

+ Republican state Senator Betty Little: "For the public, what they have seen would call for more accountability and more transparency and I think that we should do that." [Fox23]

+ NYO's Jimmy Vielkind writes: "For those who decried the nebulous oversight that has characterized the political culture here for so many years, there is hope for a substantive reform, finally." [NYO]

+ The NY Post's Fred Dicker writes that many officials "suggested that the conviction on just two of eight counts wouldn't result in the full-bore, game-changing outrage that a guilty verdict on all the charges could have produced." [NY Post]

+ Many local officials in the Capital Region, mindful of all the money Bruno brought to the area, were mostly supportive of Bruno after yesterday's verdict. [Troy Record]

+ Former Albany County exec Jim Coyne, who himself was convicted on corruption charges: "I just feel for Joe." [TU]

+ An East Greenbush person-on-the-street to the Record: "Yeah, [Bruno] made a little extra on the side -- but he did a lot for the local community." [Troy Record]

Comments

'Doing a lot for the community' does not give you the right to line your pockets or commit crimes. But it clearly makes it harder to convict you of it.

Let's be clear about something: this was a witch hunt, plain and simple. To think that similar instances don't occur on a daily basis in Albany is foolish. In addition, the wording of some of these exact laws are being challenged in front of the NYS Supreme Court because they are so vague and allow for so much interpretation.

If everyone was so concerned about politicians lining their pockets with smoke-filled, back room deals, we'd be concentrating more on city politics and some of the recent news involving developing firms and their connections.

I don't see how someone being found guilty of a crime by an obviously-sympathetic jury can be called a witch-hunt. If the law is bad it should be changed, but prosecuting people for breaking laws is called 'enforcement' and without it life would be very much harder for us all.

It may be that people in power are breaking these laws 'on a daily basis' - but should that be the basis for deciding what is legal and not or what is acceptable or not?

@ the_exile

Not at all what I said. Take your pick of any politician in Albany and chances are you could prosecute them for doing something illegal - intentionally or not. Let's remember how this all got started - Spitzer had pages and state troopers go after Bruno specifically.

@ph
Your argument makes no sense here at all. "Everybody else is crooked" does not make Joe Bruno any less crooked. And no matter what Spitzer did, if Bruno wasn't doing anything illegal, he wouldn't have anything to worry about.

Lets take the same type of reasoning and apply it to a different crime and to a different person, who in this case, is innocent:

A lot of my friends smoke pot. If you were to search their houses, you would almost definitely find pot. I don't, however. No matter how much you searched or investigated, you would not be able to find any evidence or implication that I smoked or posessed pot.

Using this example, we can see clearly that Bruno is to corruption what Bob Marley is to pot.

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