Joe Bruno trial underway in Albany - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Joe Bruno trial underway in Albany

Posted: Updated: May 05, 2014 07:35 AM
ALBANY N.Y - The former Republican Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno will stand trial for a second time, facing two counts of Honest Services Mail Fraud.

It has been more than five years since Joe Bruno's first trial in Supreme Court. Prosecutors say they'll once again show the former politician is guilty of bribery. A jury comprised of nine women and three men was sat on Monday and opening statements began.

"I'm just looking forward to getting this long ordeal behind me. I'm just tired. The last nine years this has been going on, nine years," said Bruno. 

Authorities say Bruno, 85, accepted payments from a Loudonville businessman between 2004 and 2006, to help push business pending before the state government. Bruno's lawyers say the payments were for consulting fees only.

In 2009, Bruno was brought up on similar charges, but were thrown out by the Supreme Court, ruling the prosecutors had to show that a bribe or kickback were involved.

There was a pre-trial hearing last week the judge ruled on four motions, the biggest one being that evidence from the two charges Bruno was acquitted in the last trial will be admissible for this trial. 

This trial was scheduled to start in December, but it was put off until now so the former New York senator could recover from surgery.

Bruno underwent surgery for kidney cancer in New York City in September of 2013. He had been previously treated for prostate cancer back in 2003.

And due to his medical conditions, the judge is allowing trial days to start at 10 instead of 9 a.m.

Bruno was first elected to the New York State Senate District representing Rensselaer and eastern Saratoga County back in 1976.

In 1994 he was elected as the temporary president of the New York State Senate, and was re-elected each term until 2007.

He stepped down as temporary president and majority leader in 2008. In July of that same year,Bruno resigned his New York State Senate Seat.

Despite the charges against Bruno, it's important to reflect on the contributions he made to the state during his time in office.

The Glens Falls native is credited with funneling in the money to bring a new airport and Amtrak station to the Capital Region.

In 2008, when then Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a scandal, Bruno became acting Lieutenant Governor under David Paterson.

He was actually next in line to be acting governor in case of vacancy. And of course his legacy front and center when you head through Troy, where the Tri-City ValleyCats call the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium home.

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