Ex-N.Y. state Senate leader gets prison in federal corruption case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was sentenced on Wednesday to four years and three months in prison on federal corruption charges, including soliciting bribes and defrauding the public.

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The 70-year-old Republican was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in federal court in Manhattan. A jury found him guilty in July.

“I truly am remorseful for my actions,” Skelos said at the hearing before being sentenced on Wednesday.

The sentence was lighter than the five years Wood imposed in 2016 when he was convicted on the same charges. That conviction was overturned.

“Through your crimes, you caused immeasurable damage to New York citizens’ confidence in the integrity of their government,” Wood said.

Wood later on Wednesday sentenced Skelos’ 36-year-old son, Adam, who was convicted along with his father, to four years in prison, prosecutors said.

Lawyers for the Skeloses could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors accused the elder Skelos of using his position to pressure three companies to provide his son with consulting work, a “no-show” job and a $20,000 payment.

Skelos’ case is part of a string of prosecutions of state politicians that began during the tenure of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The office has continued to pursue other high-profile cases involving political figures under current U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

In August, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged U.S. Representative Christopher Collins, a Republican from upstate New York and early political supporter of President Donald Trump, with insider trading.

The office also said in a court filing earlier this month that there was a grand jury investigation related to the case of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign finance law by paying off women who said they had affairs with the president. Trump has denied having sex with either woman.

Dean and Adam Skelos were charged in 2015 and found guilty by a jury, but a federal appeals court last year threw out the convictions and ordered new trials.

Others indicted under Bharara included former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat who represented Manhattan’s Lower East Side; Joseph Percoco, a former aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; and Alain Kaloyeros, a former president of the State University of New York’s Polytechnic Institute.

Silver was sentenced to seven years in prison in July. Percoco was sentenced to six years last month. Kaloyeros was found guilty in July and has not yet been sentenced.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis