A former state Senate leader is set to go to trial this fall on charges he sold his office for the sake of his adult son.
A federal judge in Manhattan scheduled a Nov. 16 trial date for Dean Skelos and his 33-year-old son, Adam, on Thursday at a hearing where the pair pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment adding new extortion and bribery charges alleging they bullied an executive into giving the son a no-show job in exchange for political favors.
The trial for the once-powerful Republican from Long Island could overlap with that of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat whose own corruption case is scheduled to go to trial in the same district Nov. 2. Skelos and Silver, along with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, once formed the “three men in a room” triumvirate holding sway in Albany over the budget and legislation.
Skelos and his son left court Thursday without speaking to reporters.
Dean Skelos, 67, was first charged in May with steering at least $300,000 in bribes to the son. Prosecutors say the total included $200,000 from an environmental technology company that was threatened with losing a significant contract with Nassau County if Adam Skelos wasn’t paid as a consultant.
The revised indictment unsealed this month accuses the father and son of scheming to shake down the chief executive of a malpractice insurance firm that was lobbying the senator. It says Adam Skelos asked the executive for a full-time job when he and his father attended a fundraiser in 2012, saying he needed income and health insurance benefits.
The executive told Dean Skelos later that day he had agreed to help Adam with a job and the father thanked him, the indictment says. But Adam Skelos failed to report to the $78,000-a-year position almost from the start, showing up for no more than one hour for four days of his first week, it adds.
When a supervisor called to discuss his schedule, Adam Skelos threatened to “smash in” the supervisor’s head and told him he would “never amount to anything,” the court papers say. Adam Skelos also told the supervisor he did not have to go to work regularly because his father was the Senate leader, they say.
Silver, 71, has pleaded not guilty to charges he exploited his power in Albany to take $4 million in kickbacks.
SOURCE: The Associated Press, Tom Hays