Tying together three weeks of testimony and dozens of subpoenaed documents and secretly recorded phone calls, prosecutors described Tuesday how former state senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos turned his powerful office into a cash cow, allegedly strong-arming companies into paying his son Adam for doing little or no work. They say he violated his oath of office and committing a federal crime in the process. NY1's Bobby Cuza reports on the closing arguments in the Skelos' federal corruption trial.
As senate majority leader, one of Dean Skelos' stated priorities was job creation.
That was true, prosecutors said Tuesday, as closing arguments got underway in his federal corruption trial, but it was job creation for his son Adam.
There was, for instance, a $20,000 check from a title insurance company, for which Adam did nothing.
"This $20,000 payment is unexplainable," prosecutor Rahul Mukhi told the jury. "It is devastating proof that the defendants were engaged in extortion and bribery."
Central to much of the case was Charles Dorego, an executive at powerful real estate developer Glenwood Management. In a dozen different meetings, Dorego testified, Skelos leaned on him to help Adam.
So he arranged the $20,000 check and got Adam a job consulting for an environmental company called AbTech. Both companies, and a medical malpractice insurance firm that hired Adam but where he rarely showed up for work, sought legislative action.
"It wasn't just a big coincidence that the companies paying Adam Skelos — each and every one — were hugely dependent on keeping Senator Skelos happy," Mukhi said.
In return, prosecutors say, Skelos took official action, whether it was passing rent laws or, in the case of AbTech, arranging meetings with state officials and pressing Nassau County executive Ed Mangano to expedite an AbTech contract.
Anticipating a defense argument that the Dean Skelos was just a concerned, supportive parent,
Mukhi told jurors, quote, "You cannot commit a crime and then just say, I'm not guilty because I did it to help my son."
Both men face eight counts including bribery, extortion and honest services fraud, but remain optimistic.
"I'm happy to answer any of your questions when we are found innocent," Adam Skelos said.
"You are going to hear our side tomorrow," Dean Skelos said.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was again in the courtroom Tuesday and at one point during a break, had a brief encounter with Senator Skelos, who approached and shook his hand. While both Dean and Adam Skelos chose to put on no defense in this case, their attorneys will have a chance to make their closing arguments on Wednesday, with the jury expected to begin deliberations late in the afternoon.