Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam pleaded not guilty Thursday morning during an arraignment in federal court in Manhattan on new charges, a week after the superseding indictment was issued in their corruption case. Zack Fink filed the following report.
Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son were back in court Thursday, this time to answer two new charges of soliciting bribes from an unnamed Long Island company.
The two charges were part of a superseding indictment revealed last week by the U.S. attorney.
Both the father and son pleaded not guilty but declined to speak with reporters.
Skelos' son, Adam, is at the heart of the original charges first revealed this past May, and the two new charges allege that Adam invoked his father's name and threatened his supervisor with violence.
The new indictment claims that the Skeloses were under the impression that Adam had what amounted to a "no-show job," and in exchange, Dean Skelos steered state contracts to the company.
The Skelos case moves forward one week after two state senators, Republican Tom Libous of Binghamton and Democrat John Sampson of Brooklyn, were both found guilty of lying to federal investigators and forced to resign their seats.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has rejected calls for a special legislative session this year to deal with ethics reform. He spoke about the issue during a radio interview last week.
"Special session to do what?" Cuomo said. "I mean, we have proposed every ethics law imaginable. At one point, you can't legislate morality, and you can't legislate intelligence."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie echoed the governor's concerns during an interview with NY1's sister station in Albany.
"For the most part, we did extensive ethics reform in the budget. More disclosure," Heastie said. "And if you look at some of the things people have gotten in trouble with, I just don't know what legislation could stop that."
Skelos' trial is set for November 16. His counterpart in the Assembly, former Speaker Sheldon Silver, is set to go on trial November 2. So it seems likely that both former leaders will be coming to court in lower Manhattan with trials that overlap.