Dean Skelos

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The second New York State legislative leader to be convicted by federal prosecutors has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

A three judge federal appeals court panel rescinded the conviction of former State Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam, who were convicted of extortion and bribery in an alleged scheme by the elder Skelos to use his political influence to steer work and award a no-show job to his son.

Prosecutors say they will retry Skelos.


The corruption conviction of the former New York State Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, was overturned Thursday on a technicality by a federal appeals court.

Silver’s attorneys say they are “grateful” for the decision,  but the US Attorney’s office for New York’s Southern district says it will retry the case. Until recently, the office was headed by Preet Bharara. He was fired by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The second of the state’s top three powerful politicians in two weeks was sentenced to prison in federal court Thursday. Dean Skelos got five years for corruption, along with his son, Adam who received six and a half years.

Despite pleas from two men and their lawyers that they did good works and were very sorry, Judge Kimba Wood told Dean Skelos and his son Adam that they “ caused immeasurable damage to New Yorkers’ confidence in the integrity of government”, and ordered prison terms. Dean Skelos must also pay over $800,000 in fines and restitution.

Tuesday is not only New York’s Presidential primary. It also the day for two special elections to replace the disgraced former leaders of the legislature, who lost their seats after being convicted on multiple felony corruption charges.

One of the races is to replace former Senate Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican who is now facing a lengthy prison term on corruption convictions.

The U.S. Attorney who convicted both of the leaders of the legislature came to Albany Monday to speak to a conference of the state’s mayors. But Preet Bharara was not invited to the State Capitol itself, and he did not meet directly with any lawmakers, even though Bharara and Governor Cuomo attended the same event, the swearing in of the state’ new chief judge.


2015 saw the fall of two of the three most powerful people in state government, and the rise of one U.S. Attorney. 

Less than a year ago, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos led the legislature. They were both at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State speech on January 21, sitting on stage , where Cuomo acknowledged his partners in the government triumvirate.

“To a good year, Dean,” Cuomo said, to applause from the assembled lawmakers and lobbyists in the cavernous auditorium. “It’s a pleasure to be with you Mr. Speaker.”

Karen DeWitt

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 and his son Adam were found guilty of charges including extortion and bribery, after 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.

With the conviction, Skelos automatically loses his seat in the Senate.

stock photo / NY NOW

Sheldon Silver was found guilty of operating several corrupt schemes in which he essentially monetized his powerful position as leader of the Assembly to illegally gain over $4 million. Some came through  referral fees for a class action asbestos lawsuit, for which the former Assembly Speaker did no work. In exchange, a doctor who saw patents with asbestos related illnesses got state funded research grants.