November 16, 2015 / 2:23 PM / in 4 years

Ex-New York Senate leader, son face corruption trial

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son are set to face trial on Monday on charges the politician pressured companies doing business with the state to give his son hundreds of thousands of dollars in jobs and commissions.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in federal court in Manhattan in the corruption case of Skelos, a 67-year-old Republican, and his 33-year-old son, Adam.

The trial is among the highest-profile to spill out of a string of corruption scandals involving members of the state legislature in Albany. More than 30 state lawmakers have either been indicted or forced from office in recent years.

Skelos, who for now retains the Long Island Senate seat he has held for three decades, was charged just four months after prosecutors unveiled corruption charges against the former New York State Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver.

Both cases are being pursued by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, who has criticized Albany for being “one of the most corrupt governments in the nation.”

Skelos’s trial begins just two weeks after a jury began hearing evidence in the case against Silver, a Democrat who was long one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers. Prosecutors are expected to rest in that case early this week.

Prosecutors said from 2010 to 2015, Dean Skelos pressured several companies with business before the state to provide commission sales work or employment to Adam Skelos.

Prosecutors said Dean Skelos pressured a real estate developer and an environmental technology company to pay his son nearly $220,000 in exchange for his support on infrastructure and legislation.

Adam Skelos also earned title insurance commissions from developers with legislative business and over $100,000 through a no-show job from a medical malpractice insurer that was actively lobbying his father, according to the indictment.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. Skelos when he was initially charged said he would “be found not only not guilty, but innocent.”

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks.

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