Eight year prosecution of Bruno ends in 'not guilty' verdict

Posted at: 05/16/2014 8:51 AM
Updated at: 05/16/2014 5:24 PM
By: WNYT Staff

Joe Bruno talks with reporters, shortly after the verdict is announced.
Joe Bruno talks with reporters, shortly after the verdict is announced.
Photo: WNYT

ALBANY - Eight years of legal jeopardy ended shortly after noon on Friday for retired Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

A federal jury returned two ‘not guilty' counts in the government's mail fraud prosecution of 85-year-old Bruno.

Shock and Elation surrounded the courtroom when the jury's verdict was revealed without advance warning, just minutes after a note suggesting confusion and the possibility of a jury deadlock.

Retired state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was thanking everybody in sight, even neutral reporters after the nine woman, three man federal jury returned two not guilty verdicts to honest services mail fraud after approximately four hours of deliberation over two days.

The government had retired Bruno on the same basic facts that led to a 2009 conviction.

The Senator received $20,000 a month in what were labeled consulting fees, roughly $400,000 altogether.

Prosecutors charged that Bruno funneled official state favors to businessman Jared Abbruzzese, but clearly the jury did not agree

While not the outcome prosecutors say they hoped for, U.S Attorney Hartunian says justice was served.

The eight year prosecutor of Joe Bruno is now over.

He serves no jail time, but has suffered a major economic penalty defending himself.

After the verdict, Bruno held a press conference on the steps of the Federal Courthouse. Watch what he had to say below.