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May 6, 2010

Fascinating political corruption federal sentencing to follow in New York

I will be again off-line most of today with Sixth Circuit judicial conference festivities (basics here), but when I get back on-line I will be eager to report on what happens today in a high-profile political corruption sentencing scheduled for today in New York.  This New York Times piece, which is headlined "Day of Sentencing Looms for Former New York Senate Leader," provides the background:

On Thursday, five months after his conviction on federal corruption charges, Mr. Bruno, 81, who as a former Senate majority leader was once one of the most powerful officials in Albany, will learn his sentence.

His lawyers, citing his years of public service, his good standing in the community and his age, have requested that he be fined but not imprisoned. Prosecutors, arguing that Mr. Bruno exploited his power to enrich himself and abused the public trust, have asked that he be imprisoned for more than eight years.

As the day of his sentencing arrives, Mr. Bruno, who was a generous benefactor to his upstate New York district, has come to terms with his fate, according to those who have spoken with him. “He’s philosophical,” said Stephen R. Coffey, an Albany lawyer who helped raise money for Mr. Bruno’s legal defense fund. “He accepts the fact that he may go to prison.”...

He holds out hope, they say, that the United States Supreme Court, which is reviewing three cases challenging the federal statute under which he was convicted, for depriving constituents of “honest services” by concealing conflicts of interest, will find that it is not valid. “He’s extremely hopeful — no one’s ever confident — about what the Supreme Court will do,” said Mr. Coffey....

Mr. Bruno, who was a Republican senator for 30 years, including 14 as the majority leader, remains revered by many. Letters urging leniency keep arriving at Judge Gary L. Sharpe’s chambers from friends, relatives and former colleagues....

Ultimately, Judge Sharpe has wide discretion in choosing Mr. Bruno’s sentence. Should Mr. Bruno be sent to prison, he would be one of the oldest inmates in the federal system. Out of a total population of 210,159, only 47 are Mr. Bruno’s age or older. Where he would serve a sentence would depend on complex screening conducted by the federal Bureau of Prisons, though authorities generally try to house inmates within 500 miles of their homes.

UPDATE:  According to this AP report, "Joseph Bruno, once one of the most powerful political figures in New York, was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison on two federal fraud counts."

May 6, 2010 at 09:28 AM | Permalink


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He should get a 0 year sentence. The average lifespan of an American is 78.4 years, so any sentence over -2.6 years is a functional life sentence.

Posted by: Res ipsa | May 6, 2010 3:30:29 PM

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