Disgraced ex-New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was sentenced Thursday at Manhattan federal court to five years in federal prison after being convicted of corruption last year.
Judge Kimba Wood sentenced the ex-senator’s son, Adam Skelos, who was also convicted of corruption charges, to 6 1/2 years in prison. The judge will decide next week whether the men can post bail while they appeal their convictions or begin serving their terms while the appeals play out.
“Your crimes have caused immeasurable damage to New Yorkers’ confidence in their government,” Wood told the father and son while handing down their sentences.
They had faced up 20 years in prison for each charge they were convicted of, which included extortion, soliciting bribes and conspiracy to commit fraud. They were also ordered to pay $500,000 in fines. Both men had requested to be sentenced to community service instead of prison.
Prosecutors said Dean pressured Roslyn-based medical malpractice firm Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers (PRI), New Hyde Park-based developer Glenwood Management and Arizona-based storm water filter manufacturer AbTech Industries for no-show jobs and payments for his son in exchange for favorable legislative treatment. All three companies had business before the state at the time.
“I am deeply remorseful and understand the seriousness of the charges,” ex-Sen. Skelos told the court while apologizing to his family, friends and constituents. “Somewhere along the way my judgement became clouded.”
Attorneys for Dean Skelos, who was the state’s top-elected Republican until he was expelled from his senate seat upon his conviction, argued that there was no quid pro quo. His son’s attorney said at trial that the only thing Adam Skelos is guilty of is saying some things he shouldn’t have in order to get a job.
The father’s attorney, Robert Gage, asked Wood for leniency, pointing to the good deeds he had done, from passing important legislation in New York to helping his constituents in need.
“I truly believe that New York is a better place because of the leadership Dean Skelos provided,” Gage told the court.
The son’s attorney asked for leniency, but when it was the young Skelos’s turn to make a statement, he tearfully asked that the judge not spare him.
“I ask you to show leniency to my dad and not to me,” Skelos said after also apologizing to his family.
Jason Masimore, the lead prosecutor in the case, countered that neither should be given leniency since the former state Senate leader should have known better, pointing to how Skelos helped pass ethics reforms while the scheme was underway.
“He knew that the public wants honesty,” Masimore said. “He didn’t care.
The sentencing came a week after another Manhattan federal judge sentenced Skelos’s former counterpart, ex-state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), to 12 years in prison for similar but unrelated corruption charges related to a $5-million scheme.
Before Silver and Skelos resigned their leadership roles in Albany after their arrests, they were two of the so-called “Three Men In A Room”—the third being Gov. Andrew Cuomo—who determined the Empire State’s legislative and budget agenda.
“These sentences show there is zero tolerance for those who use public service for private gain,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Today, the guilty were punished and justice prevailed.”