U.S. attorney asking for former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno to be re-tried
BY TARYN FITSIK
ALBANY, N.Y.--It was a case that pushed former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno back into the public eye, just a year after his retirement.
In December 2009, a jury convicted Bruno of two counts of theft of honest services, after he failed to disclose what prosecutors called "conflicts of interest". But a Supreme Court ruling prompted Bruno's attorneys to have the conviction thrown out.
However, Bruno could be facing an entirely new trial. Thursday, a U.S. attorney asked a federal appeals court for Bruno to be re-tried.
Local attorney Steve Coffey says the justice system is not set up act in this manner.
"The Supreme Court has spoken in this case, and you don't get a chance to try him four or five or six times, until you finally grind him into the dust," says Coffey.
Coffey says re-trying Bruno is nothing more than harassment and a fail to let go of this case, a case that garnered a ton of attention from both the media and the public in general.
"This case should not be dismissed because Joe Bruno is 82 or is a nice man or did a lot for the community," says Coffey. "But they shouldn't be taking him on and forcing him through this because he is a former senate majority leader."
"Certainly the law must be blind to title, to position, things of that nature, and it must be applied even handedly," adds Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari.
Canestrari says he believes the ethical issues the entire legislature is grappling with under the public eye have hurt Bruno, whether it be directly or indirectly.
"I think to some effect that Joe is a victim of that, because of a determination that the ethical climate must change," he says. "I thought it was all over with, and I'm surprised it is continuing."
"Treat him like you would treat anyone else," adds Coffey. "Let it go."
Coffey also brings up the point, while the government did have a right to bring forth the original indictment under the prevailing law at the time, in the end, it lost.
Coffey firmly believes a new trial will not be given, and the second circuit will dismiss this case.
He says the decision could come as early as this spring, or as late as the fall.
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