Jury selection underway in ex-speaker Skelos case

Jury selection began Monday in the federal corruption trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son.

The once-powerful New York politician is accused of using his influence to help his son land a high-paying "no-show" job.

The government and Skelos' attorney spent the day interviewing almost 100 prospective jurors.

Skelos and his son have been indicted on eight counts of bribery and extortion charges.

Federal prosecutors claim Skelos extorted kickbacks, contracts and no-show jobs for him and his son, netting hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly up to $2 million.

Part of the government's case against the senator and his son relies on emails and taped phone conversations.

In transcripts of the wiretaps, the senator is not heard directly extorting bribes. The two allegedly spoke in code to possibly avoid prosecution.

"In one tape they refer to working on 'other stuff,' and the government says 'other stuff' was a reference to contracts in Nassau County and elsewhere," says John Riley, of Newsday.

Federal prosecutors revealed that one of the defendants, Dean or Adam, had asked about the possibility of a plea deal. Prosecutors say they responded, but that no deal was ever reached.

The trial is expected to last about three to five weeks once a jury is seated.



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