18 July 2018

Well, This is Reasurring

Even with the US Supreme Court doing its level best to make corruption prosecutions impossible, former New York Senate Dean Skelos, Former Senate Majority Leader, has been convicted as corruption:
Dean G. Skelos, once one of the most powerful figures in New York State politics, was found guilty of bribery, extortion and conspiracy on Tuesday, the latest in a drumbeat of corruption convictions to roil Albany in a heated election year.

The verdict itself was not necessarily a surprise, as a different jury had found Mr. Skelos, the former leader of the State Senate, and his son guilty on the same charges in 2015 before the convictions were overturned. But its timing — on the heels of three other successful Albany-focused prosecutions this year, including one last week in the courtroom next door — fed the perception that the culture of ethical neglect in the state capital had reached its nadir.
The conviction was overturned because of the SCOTUS ruling on former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, where they basically said that the payoffs had to be mind-bogglingly explicit.

Fortunately for prosecutors, Skelos was very explicit.

The jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan deliberated for three days before finding Mr. Skelos and his son, Adam, guilty on all eight counts. Prosecutors said the older Mr. Skelos, the former leader of the Senate’s Republican majority, had wielded his political clout to pressure business executives to send his son about $300,000 for a patchwork of no-show or low-show jobs.

Forgot to mention, the New York State Assembly Speaker was convicted on retrial as well:
Instead, jurors may have been swayed by prosecutors’ descriptions of Mr. Skelos’s nearly unparalleled influence as one of Albany’s “three men in a room,” who, along with Mr. Cuomo and the former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver — who was himself convicted in a retrial in May — controlled lucrative state contracts and hobnobbed regularly with lobbyists and millionaire donors.

I would note that while Cuomo has not been caught up with this, some of his closest aides have been:
Mr. Cuomo was not connected to any evidence in the trials of Mr. Skelos and Mr. Silver. Nor was the governor accused of wrongdoing in either of the two other major corruption trials this year, even though they led to the convictions of Joseph Percoco, once one of Mr. Cuomo’s top aides, and Alain Kaloyeros, Mr. Cuomo’s former economic point person.
I don't think that this will swing the primary to Cynthia Nixon, but I do think that this makes a run for the Presidential nomination in 2020 far less likely, which is a good thing.


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