Bruno Conviction Overturned

11.16.11 | Bob Price

 A federal appeals court tossed out the conviction of a former Republican leader of the New York Senate on Wednesday but gave prosecutors what they wanted by allowing him to be retried.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, following the lead of a Supreme Court ruling, rejected the conviction of 83-year-old Joseph Bruno, but the three-judge panel agreed with prosecutors that there was sufficient evidence to retry him.

Bruno was convicted in 2009 of denying taxpayers honest services by concealing a deal with a business associate who paid him as a consultant.

Last year, in the case of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, the Supreme Court found that federal statutes used to fight white-collar and public official fraud only criminalize schemes with proof of bribes or kickbacks.

The 2nd Circuit agreed to return the case to the lower court in Albany, where prosecutors can seek a superseding indictment. At a new trial, jurors would be given proper instructions on the anti-fraud law, consistent with the Supreme Court findings.

Earlier this year, prosecutors filed court papers seeking another trial for Bruno, the state Senate's Republican leader for 13 years, saying there was enough evidence to show he received $280,000 in return for taking official actions on behalf of the business associate.