Prosecutors Seek an 8-Year Term for Bruno
Our old friend Joe Bruno (sarcasm) is up for sentencing soon for his business dealings while still a legislator:
Federal prosecutors are seeking more than eight years of prison time for Joseph L. Bruno, the former Republican majority leader of the State Senate, as punishment for concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from a businessman who sought help from the Legislature.
In a 14-page sentencing memorandum submitted on Friday to Judge Gary L. Sharpe of United States District Court in Albany, prosecutors said Mr. Bruno, 81, merited the sentence because he had abused a position of enormous public trust to enrich himself and because he continued to deny any wrongdoing. Prosecutors are also seeking $280,000 in restitution from Mr. Bruno, a penalty his lawyers said he would accept.
In December, a jury found Mr. Bruno, once one of the most powerful officials in state government, guilty on two counts of honest services fraud in a case that cast a harsh light on the former senator’s commingling of business and politics. Mr. Bruno has insisted that he did nothing wrong and has vowed to appeal his conviction. The judge is expected to announce the sentence on May 6.
“The nature and circumstances of this offense are particularly egregious,” Elizabeth C. Coombe and William C. Pericak, the assistant United States attorneys who led the case against Mr. Bruno, wrote in the memorandum.
“Defendant, whose position as New York State Senate majority leader made him one of the three most powerful men in New York State, exploited his office for his own personal gain.”
Mr. Bruno’s lawyers, William J. Dreyer and April M. Wilson, wrote in their own sentencing memorandum to Judge Sharpe, also filed on Friday, that Mr. Bruno did not deserve any prison time at all and that applicable sentencing guidelines indicated that he should face, at most, six months behind bars.
Their 60-page memorandum details Mr. Bruno’s life and upbringing — including his childhood membership in the Boy Scouts and his Army service in Korea — and what it says were Mr. Bruno’s contributions to his community, including tens of millions of dollars’ worth of economic development and earmarks. The memorandum also features testimonials.
Because of his age and because he has retired from public life, Mr. Dreyer and Ms. Wilson argued, incarceration would serve no purpose. “A non-jail sentence is sufficient, but not greater than necessary for these conflict-of-interest crimes,” they wrote.