The Real Deal New York

Dean Skelos won’t testify at corruption trial

Federal prosecutors set to begin closing arguments Tuesday afternoon

December 08, 2015 03:30PM

Dean Skelos Preet Bharara

From left: Dean Skelos and Preet Bharara

Like former Albany colleague Sheldon Silver, New York state senator Dean Skelos will not testify at his federal corruption trial, with prosecutors set to begin their closing arguments Tuesday afternoon.

Attorneys for Skelos and his son Adam rested their cases early Tuesday afternoon without calling any witnesses of their own. Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, rested their case Tuesday after calling their 20th and final witness.

After the jury left the courtroom, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood asked the Skeloses, under oath, to reaffirm their decision not to testify, while also asking both men whether they had consumed drugs or alcohol within the past 24 hours, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Dean Skelos told the judge he drank a glass of wine the night prior, while Adam Skelos said he consumed a margarita.

The Nassau County Republican and his son are accused of leveraging political power for financial benefit, while defense lawyers for the two men say U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office is criminalizing political activity.

The Skelos duo was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this year on charges including extortion, wire fraud, conspiracy and bribe solicitation, with the government’s case including cameos from real estate firms like Glenwood Management and Tishman Speyer. Dean Skelos resigned from his senate leadership position in May.

Sheldon Silver was convicted last week on all seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering that he faced over five weeks of trail in Federal District Court in Lower Mnahattan – becoming the latest New York politician convicted in a corruption scandal tied to real estate interests. [WSJ] – Rey Mashayekhi