Federal authorities take into custody and charge the Senate Majority Leader of New York State and his son for conspiracy to commit fraud and extortion. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Federal authorities charged New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son on Monday (May 4) with engaging in a corruption scheme, in the latest of a string of criminal cases against politicians in the state's capital of Albany. Skelos, a 67-year-old Republican, and his 32-year-old son, Adam, were named in a six-count criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that included charges of conspiracy and extortion. The men were taken into custody by the FBI early on Monday, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. They are expected to appear in court later in the day. Their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment. The complaint said that beginning in 2010, Dean Skelos and his son pressured a real estate developer to arrange for Adam Skelos to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. The developer arranged the payments while lobbying Skelos concerning legislation important to its business, the complaint said. The payments included $20,000 disguised as a commission to title work that Adam Skelos did not perform, and $4,000 per month from an environmental technology firm seeking to win government-funded contracts, the complaint said. In 2013, when New York's Nassau County was considering awarding the environmental technology company a contract, Skelos and his son threatened to block it unless the payments increased, the complaint said. In response, the company began paying Adam Skelos $10,000 per month. In total, the company paid Adam Skelos at least $198,000 through February, the complaint said. Dean Skelos, meanwhile, used his position to facilitate approval of a $12 million contract for the company, the complaint said. The charges were the latest blow to Albany following the January arrest of then-New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, on federal corruption charges. Silver, 71, resigned as speaker but remains the assemblyman for Manhattan's Lower East Side. He has pleaded not guilty. Both cases follow the abrupt dismantling by Governor Andrew Cuomo of a 2013 anti-corruption panel known as the Moreland Commission, a move that triggered an investigation by Bharara's office. Bharara said in January the concentration of power among the "three men in the room" - as Cuomo, Silver and Skelos were widely known - may be part of the problem.