Corruption convictions overturned for Dean Skelos and son

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MINEOLA -

The corruption convictions against former state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son were overturned Tuesday, clearing the way for a new trial. 

Prosecutors say the elder Skelos, one of the most politically powerful people in the state, used his influence to get his son a no-show job by badgering a company that was lobbying Skelos on legislation. 

An appeals court has vacated those convictions based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that involved the former governor of Virginia.

"The Supreme Court said the official act that  [former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell]  engaged in…were acts that a public official or governor would do anyway, such as meeting with constituents, arranging meetings, helping people," said defense attorney William Wexler. "That is the nature of the job. Therefore, it cannot be a criminal act."

The Appeals Court decision is far from a slam dunk for the Skelos family. In their decision, the judges also wrote, "We conclude that the evidence was sufficient to establish a quid pro quo arrangement."

But the court ruled that based on the Supreme Court decision, the jury would have to be instructed differently on what constitutes a crime.

The U.S. Attorney's Office commented right after the court ruling saying it looks forward to a prompt retrial. 

Skelos represented Rockville Centre for years in the state Legislature. He did not return a call for comment.

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