U.S. Attorney addresses Bruno verdict - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Attorney addresses Bruno verdict

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Joe Bruno leaves court after not guilty verdict. (NEWS10 ABC) Joe Bruno leaves court after not guilty verdict. (NEWS10 ABC)
Bruno leaves court after verdict (NEWS10 ABC) Bruno leaves court after verdict (NEWS10 ABC)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian says the outcome of Friday’s verdict in the trial of Joe Bruno will not deter him or his office from prosecuting other political corruption causes like it.

"We have no personal animosity toward Mr. Bruno. We understand his popularity,” he said.

He wanted to make it clear that unlike what has been said by Joe Bruno's legal team, neither he nor his colleagues have a vendetta or obsession to prosecute Bruno. Hartunian admitted that although he accepts the not guilty verdict in the re-trial of Bruno, it's certainly not the one he was hoping for.

Hartunian maintains that his office has sufficient evidence proving Bruno committed honest services mail fraud by soliciting private business from and entering into financial relationships with people who were pursuing interests before the state legislature or other state agencies. He says he hopes social and other factors didn't sway the jury's decision today to find Bruno not guilty.

"To those supporters of Mr. Bruno who believe this case should not have been brought because of his popularity, his age, his health challenges or how many public tax dollars he steered to our area for airports and train stations and baseball stadiums you should understand that prosecutors must base their charging decisions on the facts and the law,” he said.

Bruno’s attorney maintains Bruno did nothing wrong. A 2011 conviction was overturned, but Hartunian said it wasn’t because Bruno is innocent.

“Contrary to what Mr. Bruno told many of you during the course of the trial, he was not acquitted in the Supreme Court of Appeals. The law was changed by the supreme court in skilling and thereafter the court of appeals based upon that change in the law vacated the conviction with our consent and determined that there was adequate evidence to retry him,” Hartunian said.

Some have questioned the retrial saying it used the same facts and is accusing Bruno of the same things he was already tried on.

“My response is that it is not double jeopardy,” Hartunian continued. “Double jeopardy is not involved in this case, and the court of appeals actually ruled on that issue twice and held that it wasn’t. When there is a conviction and a change in the law generally does not set up as double jeopardy.”

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