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Update: Appellate Court Overturns Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ Conviction

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Dean Skelos

(Update, September 26, 2017) – A federal appeals court has overturned the corruption convictions of former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos. ​​

The court cited a 2016 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which limits the legal definition of corruption.

Skelos and his son had been sentenced to five, and six-and-a-half year sentences in prison, respectively, following their convictions in 2015.

Prosecutors have said they will retry the cases.

“While we are disappointed in the decision, and will weigh our appellate options, we look forward to a prompt retrial where we will have another opportunity to present the overwhelming evidence of Dean Skelos and Adam Skelos’s guilt, and again give the public the justice it deserves,” Acting US Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement, following the court’s decision.

Former Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption conviction was also overturned in July, on the same grounds.

Prosecutors have vowed to retry Silver as well.

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(From May 12, 2016) – U.S. Federal Court Judge Kimba Wood sentenced Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and his son, Adam, to five, and six-and-a-half year sentences in prison, respectively, following their convictions on eight charges of corruption in December.

Prosecutors accused Skelos of using his political influence to arrange jobs for his son, who was charged with aiding and abetting his father in the scheme.

Skelos ultimately received $300,000 for his son, through the extortion and bribery of companies in return for political favors.

In addition, earlier this month, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years on similar charges.

But, although U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office had pushed for 12 1/2 to 15 2/3 years in prison for Skelos, and 12 1/2 years for his son, Judge Wood said the dollar value of Skelos and his son’s crimes “pales in comparison” to Silver’s.

Yet, “The effect of your crime has much in common with him,” Wood stated.

“You have caused immeasurable damage to New Yorkers’ confidence in the integrity of government,” she stated.

Skelos has also been ordered to pay a $500,000 fine for the crimes, and he and his son will both jointly pay an additional $300,000 in forfeiture.

“In the span of just 16 months, we have seen the arrest, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of both leaders of the New York State legislature,” Bharara said in a statement. “The nearly simultaneous convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, whose corruption crimes were laid bare during fair and public trials, have no precedent. And, while Silver and Skelos deserve their prison sentences, the people of New York deserve better.”

Skelos, a Republican from Long Island, was first elected to the Senate in 1984, and had become majority leader in 2008.