Skelos federal corruption trial begins in NYC

Opening statements began Tuesday in the federal corruption case against former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam.

U.S. Attorney Tatiana Martins said the duo's actions were an "abuse of political power to satisfy personal gain."

Martins said investigators had collected emails, wiretaps, and testimony that proves Sen. Skelos put pressure on several companies that had important business with New York state and Nassau County. She said Sen. Skelos would have those businesses offer lucrative jobs and cash to his son.

Martins told jurors that if companies did right by the state senator's son, Dean Skelos would push for favorable legislation, tax breaks and government contracts for those businesses. Martins added that wiretaps would show Sen. Skelos leaned on politicians and businesses using coded language -- once during the funeral of a fallen police officer.

Newsday reporter John Riley said although the wiretaps are important, testimony from the company representatives could be just as powerful.

"Wiretaps are always particularly compelling, but I don't think the government can make its whole case based on the wiretaps," said Riley.

Sen. Skelos' attorney Robert Gadge told jurors that there was no crime committed and that the senator only wanted to help his son like any father would.

He added there was no quid pro quo, and that the office of the majority leader in Albany was never for sale.

The trial will continue Wednesday. It is expected to last three to five weeks.


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