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Feds urge ‘significant’ jail time for ex-Senate majority leader Joe Bruno for corruption

April 26, 2010


ALBANY – Federal prosecutors want convicted ex-Senate majority leader Joe Bruno to serve at least eight years in prison for enriching himself through consulting contracts.

In a memorandum filed Friday, prosecutors said Bruno, 81, should serve “significant” jail time for the “particularly egregious” offense and that a 97-month sentence was the “low-end” of what was allowed.

“[The] defendant has eroded the confidence of the citizens of New York State in the proper functioning of their government by choosing to put his own personal financial interests ahead of the interests of those who elected him to serve them,” prosecutors wrote.

Bruno was accused of using his political heft to garner $3 million in consulting fees from entities and people with business before the Senate. Bruno is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6 in Albany by U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe.

Prosecutors also want Bruno to pay $280,000 in restitution – the amount he made through the two felony fraud counts on which he was convicted.

Legislators were shocked by the possibility that the grandfatherly Bruno could serve eight years behind bars.

“It’s a terrible price to pay,” Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, who replaced Bruno, told the Albany Times Union. “It’s breathtaking.”

Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said, “That seems like a pretty severe penalty. Wow. That has to be upsetting.”

Bruno’s lawyers requested leniency for the one-time Republican kingpin, citing his age and long career of public service. They sought no jail time or, at most, a sentence of six months.

Their memo includes snippets of letters from his supporters.

The Rev. Nigel Mumford of Greenwich wrote that he officiated at the burial of Bruno’s wife. He called Bruno a man of God.

“I humbly ask that you have mercy on him as God has mercy on us,” he wrote.

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