Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' corruption trial gets underway Monday, and on Friday, he expressed confidence that he will be acquitted. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Adam Skelos seemed to do everything he could to get fired from his job at a Long Island medical malpractice insurance firm, prosecutors say. He rarely bothered showing up for work, and when confronted, threatened to smash in his supervisor’s head.
However, they argue that he was kept on because the firm’s executives felt pressure and feared retaliation from Adam’s father, Dean Skelos. As state senate majority leader, he controlled legislation that directly affected the firm’s profitability.
It’s just one of several schemes in which Skelos allegedly used his official position to win no-show jobs for his son.
The two men face eight counts, including extortion, bribery and honest services fraud. They appeared at one final court conference Friday before their trial gets underway next week.
Giving a different version of events, one defense attorney told the judge that the insurance firm’s CEO, the politically connected Anthony Bonomo, was a 30-year friend of Dean Skelos and kept Adam onboard for "personal reasons."
The defense may note that Adam has a child who has autism. One question that will be put to prospective jurors is whether they know parents of children diagnosed with developmental delays.
In a brief, off-camera statement to reporters in the courtroom Friday, Dean Skelos said, "In my opinion, this is a prosecution that should never have been brought in the first place…After the trial, I’m convinced the jury will find myself and my son not guilty."
The potential jury pool has already been whittled down based on preliminary questionnaires filled out earlier this week, but potential jurors will face further questioning in the courtroom Monday morning, with the trial set to begin as soon as that jury has been set.