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Feds had wiretap on Dean Skelos' cellphone for more than two months, prosecutors say

New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and

New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam leave Southern District Federal Court in Manhattan after his initial hearing on corruption charges on Monday, May 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Sen. Dean Skelos and his son Adam pleaded not guilty to corruption charges on Monday morning as prosecutors revealed that they had a wiretap on the one-time Senate Republican majority leader's cellphone for 2-1/2 months.

Prosecutors also told U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan that they wiretapped one of Adam Skelos' cellphones for four months and another for one month, and were turning over 2,400 audio files from father and son to the defense.

The disclosures came at an arraignment on an indictment filed last week charging that Dean Skelos tried to "monetize" his political power by getting payments and jobs for his son from a developer, an environmental firm and a malpractice insurer.

Robert Gage, the lawyer for Dean Skelos, and Christopher Conniff, the lawyer for Adam Skelos, both pleaded not guilty on behalf of their clients. Wood did not set a trial date, but scheduled a court appearance for July 30.

Prosecutors told the judge that the discovery in the case -- materials to be turned over to the defense for review -- involved "hundreds of thousands of documents with millions of pages."

In addition to the court-ordered wiretaps, prosecutor Rahul Mukhi said, the materials include massive numbers of emails and text messages obtained through search warrants, as well as "consensual audio and text messages made during the course of this investigation."

Leaving court, Gage said they had no comment on the charges, which were first filed in a criminal complaint in early May. "We're not going to say anything today beyond what we said in the courtroom," he told reporters.

Dean Skelos, 67, of Rockville Centre, resigned from his position as majority leader after charges were filed, but continues to represent his Nassau County district.

The government says that he pressured developer Glenwood Management and AbTech Industries, a company marketing a storm water antipollution device, to pay more than $200,000 to Adam in return for support on their legislative interests and lobbying Nassau officials to fund a deal with AbTech.

The charges came a few months after Democratic Assemb. Sheldon Silver was forced to step down from his post as speaker after also being charged with corruption in federal court in Manhattan.


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