Former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno is expected to face a second federal trial after an appeals court on Tuesday rejected his claim of double jeopardy.
Bruno, R-Brunswick, Rensselaer County, was convicted in 2009 of two counts of mail fraud, but the conviction was overturned after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a portion of the “theft of honest services” statute Bruno was charged under. Federal prosecutors, however, were allowed to file a superseding indictment against Bruno if they could prove a quid pro quo took place when he took $440,000 in consulting payments and $80,000 for a worthless horse from an Albany-area business man.
Bruno’s attorneys argued that amounted to double jeopardy since prosecutors had “abandoned” trying to prove a quid pro quo arrangement in his original trial. But the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t agree, since prosecutors never presented that argument in the first place.
“Bruno argues that the government is barred from retrying him on a quid pro quo theory because it abandoned that theory at his first trial,” the panel of judges wrote. “We are not persuaded.”
The appeals court ruling sends the case back to federal court in Albany, where Bruno, 84, is expected to stand trial.
Bruno was a state senator representing a portion of the Capital Region from 1977 to 2008. He was majority leader from 1994 until his resignation.
(AP file photo)
Here’s the appeals court ruling: