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UPDATE 2-NY Senate leader Skelos resigns leadership post amid corruption charges

(Adds Skelos comment, writes through after resignation)

May 11 (Reuters) - New York state Senator Dean Skelos on Monday resigned his post as majority leader a week after being charged in a corruption scheme involving his son, and was swiftly replaced by a fellow senator from Long Island.

Skelos, 67, a Republican, said in a statement that allegations he traded official favors to companies for payments to his son, Adam, 32, had taken a major toll on his family and created a distraction in the state Senate.

“I have always endeavored to do what I thought was right for this state, for my constituents and for the men and women of the Senate Republican conference,” he said.

Skelos, who has maintained his innocence, did not resign from the Long Island Senate seat he has held for 30 years. He had been majority leader since 2011.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, elected Sen. John Flanagan, a 54-year-old lawyer, also from Long Island, to replace Skelos as leader.

Federal authorities last week charged Skelos and his son with extortion and soliciting bribes, in the latest of a string of criminal cases against state legislators.

Prosecutors said Skelos pressured a real estate developer and an environmental technology company to pay his son more than $200,000 in exchange for his support on infrastructure and legislation.

Skelos is the fifth consecutive majority leader of the state Senate to face criminal corruption charges.

Skelos’ resignation came as former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver faces a November trial on charges that he received kickbacks for steering business to two law firms. Silver, who has pleaded not guilty, resigned as speaker shortly after the charges were unveiled in January. (Reporting by Daniel Wiessner, editing by G Crosse; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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