Jurors begin deliberations in Joe Bruno trial

Posted at: 05/15/2014 12:50 PM
Updated at: 05/15/2014 6:33 PM
By: WNYT Staff

Photo: File/ WNYT

Jurors began deliberating two federal fraud charges against Joe Bruno early Thursday afternoon.

Closing arguments took place earlier in the day.

Throughout, it was the defendant, not Senator Bruno whom Prosecutor Elizabeth Coombe referred to.

She told the jury there was no evidence the defendant did any consulting work for the four companies Jared Abbruzzese channeled money to Bruno at the rate of $20,000 a month.

Coombe argued it was obvious the defendant had sized up Abbruzzese as someone he could soak for money.

She described Bruno’s conduct as “disgusting, outrageous, unacceptable, and illegal.”

“In our system of justice, everyone is held accountable when they violate the law,” said Coombe. She described the evidence as overwhelming.

“I’m just placing my trust, my faith in the good lord. I have a lot of people supporting for me, running for me. I am confident that the jury will do the right thing and this ordeal will be over in my life,” Bruno told reporters outside.

When it was time for E. Stewart Jones, it was as if he was channeling William Jennings Bryan in the “Cross of Gold” speech.

Stewart was shouting at times – almost inaudible. Later, Jones opened the prosecution was the continuation of an elaborate shell game, that bribery never happened.

He argued if Jared Abbruzzese had wanted to give Senator Bruno $1 million, it was legal as long as it did not lead to any official action.

He shouted they don’t care about the truth – they want Senator Bruno’s scalp.