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Skelos and son convicted of corruption


The second of the state legislature’s two former leaders has now been convicted on multiple corruption charges after a jury lost no time in finding former Senate Leader Dean Skelos and son Adam guilty on all eight counts.

Dean Skelos, who with his conviction has been automatically removed from the Senate, and his son Adam, were found guilty of charges including extortion and bribery. Prosecutors said they schemed to use the former senate leader’s influence with the real estate industry to obtain no-show jobs for his son.

The jury deliberated for less than a day. Susan Lerner, with the reform group Common Cause New York, said that’s telling.

"They came to a very quick , unanimous conclusion that this kind of conduct is not acceptable,” Lerner said. “Juries are not buying the business as usual argument.”

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty on numerous corruption charges in late November. Common Cause and others hope the convictions will spur change in state government.

The Skeloses face maximum sentences of decades in prison.

Lerner said the lawmakers left in Albany need to make changes like limiting or banning outside income and closing campaign finance loopholes.

Reformers got a boost from the U.S. attorney who brought the charges himself. Preet Bharara, in a tweet directly after the verdict, said, "How many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?"

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.