Newsday’s John Riley reports live from Manhattan federal court at the sentencing of Dean Skelos and his son Adam Skelos.
Fine is $500,000 for Dean, over half of present value of state $95,000 pension. Judge notes that a hefty fine is in order because Dean actually voted for reform stripping pensions from new senators who are convicted.
Judge: Sixty months — five years — for Dean.
Judge Kimba Wood: “To the extent you wish to do community service, you may teach others in prison.” Wood: You have done incalculable damage to New Yorkers trust in their government.
Wood says Silver got much more money but Skelos crime had same effect: “You sent a message that you... were in some measure corrupt.”
Wood now speaking on calculation of sentencing guidelines.
Prosecutor: Says judge must deter, give new legislators reason to resist temptation. “The people deserve better.”
Prosecutor made only brief comments about Adam. Says he deserves a “significant” sentence because of personal vindictiveness he displayed at times.
Prosecutor: Judge must deter, give new legislators reason to resist temptation. “The people deserve better.”
Prosecutor: Dean wasn’t even deterred when ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested. It didn’t stop him. “He knew better.”
Prosecutor Jason Masimore calls former state Sen. Carl Kruger’s case one of the most “apt comparisons.” For the record: Kruger got 7 years. Masimore says Skelos saw Kruger get 7 years, and it didn’t deter him one bit.
Prosecutor cites Judge Caproni remarks at Silver’s corruption sentencing on erosion of public trust: “That’s why this such a harmful and insidious crime.”
Masimore: “This wasn’t a lapse in judgment. “This was a premeditated plan” to “cash in” on Dean’s power.
Prosecutor: “The people of New York deserved better.... You can’t rob a bank, and then say I did it for my family.”
Adam Skelos says he is “deeply embarrassed by my actions. ... I ask you to show leniency to my dad and not to me. He’s a 68-year-old man.”
Adam Skelos says he hurt “the man I love the most.” Says “I was selfish. I was reckless.”
Adam: “I am deeply embarrassed by my actions.”
Dean Skelos apologizes to constituents, asks leniency for Adam. “I submit myself to your judgment,” he says to the judge. Dean: I tried to be a good father. “Somewhere my judgment became clouded....I let things go off the rails.... For that I apologize to Adam.”
Dean Skelos speaking now: “I am deeply remorseful. It has destroyed my reputation.”
Adam’s lawyer Chris Conniff: Adam’s two autistic children “love Adam, and they need him.” With treatment for addiction Adam may be able to emerge from his father’s shadow, become more productive on his own.
Conniff: The whole experience has already been “humiliating” for Adam. Lost his home, lost his wife, damaged his father.
Conniff: Adam has battled alcohol and drug dependency, mental health issues that flesh out relationship to Dean leading up to events at trial.
Conniff tells judge: “There’s more to Adam than what was displayed during the trial.... What we ask is that you look at Adam’s whole life.”
Dean Skelos’ attorney Bob Gage: Says former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno got two years, and Dean deserves a sentence “in that range.” A change from pretrial, when Gage asked for no jail.
Skelos attorney Bob Gage references Virginia Gov. McDonnell, who got cash to buy expensive cars, homes and got two years: “It’s a different set of circumstances here.”
Judge Kimba Wood: Why did Dean not turn to his “legion of friends” to get a legit job for Adam? Gage: I don’t know. “I would just be speculating.” But hope everything else weighs in his favor.
Dean’s lawyer: The day he adopted Adam was “the happiest day of his life,” developed a “remarkable bond” that has lasted til today. “This father son emotional connection is at the very core” of the crimes.
Gage: “New York is a better place” because of what Dean Skelos did.
Gage: Trial was a narrow view. Dean is “an extraordinarily decent, caring, compassionate man.” Dean “has never forgotten where he came from,” humble origins in a big Greek-American family. Gage then segues into legislative contributions to New York. SAFE act on guns, same sex marriage: Showed “courage, not politics.”
All rise! Judge Wood enters. Says Dean Skelos will be sentenced first. Says she’s read many, many letters, over 200 in support of Dean. She says the letters are very moving.
Adam, Dean both come into courtroom. Seated with lawyers. Dean pours a water for Adam, then one for lawyer Bob Gage, then one for himself.