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Former New York Sen. Joseph Bruno acquitted on corruption charges

By Kyle Johnson,

Retired senator and former New York Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno was acquitted on corruption charges on Friday.

After five hours of deliberation, the Albany federal jury acquitted 85-year-old Bruno on two charges of honest services mail fraud, which stemmed from allegations businessman Jared Abbruzzese bribed him, reports Reuters.

Bruno was accused of accepting $360,000 from the local businessman in the form of consulting fees over a two-year period from 2004 to 2006. Prosecutors say that the senator wasn't actually consulting, but rather helped Abbruzzese's business snag state grants.

According to The Associated Press, the prosecution also alleged Bruno also helped Abbruzzese's partner get onto the New York Racing Association board.

For 14 years, he led the Senate majority before retiring in 2008 and the first trial began a year later, where he was charged on seven counts, but was only found guilty on two. An appeal then later overturned those two. He was then recharged by prosecutors on those two counts.

William Dreyer, Bruno's defense attorney was happy with the outcome, while U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said he was disappointed, but accepted the result. He noted that his office would still work towards ridding politics of corruption. "Public corruption is a priority."

 

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