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Trial looms for former State Senate leader
ALBANY -- The re-trial of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno begins next week. Thursday one final pre-trial conference set some of the groundwork for the case of the well-known Republican from Brunswick.
This will likely be a simpler trial than the first. Thursday, we learned some of what's in and what's out of the second trial for the former senator.
The first difference in the second trial -- a shorter trial day, so long as Bruno doesn't hold court with reporters outside the courthouse. The decision was made at a request for medical reasons.
"I think it's the natural instinct of a public official particularly a politician to speak up and this person feels very strongly that he's being wrongly prosecuted and he's innocent," said local attorney Paul DerOhannesian, who offered CBS6 some commentary on the case.
Attorneys for Bruno did not have anything to say to reporters leaving District Court ahead of the trial which is expected to last two weeks. At the pre-trial conference, Judge Gary Sharpe decided to allow evidence from charges on which Bruno was acquitted in the last round.
"The reason it's allowed in is to give background, context, complete the story," DerOhannesian said. "That hurts the defendant though because you're still hearing about other bad acts the government alleges he engaged in."
Bruno is accused of taking kickbacks and bribes worth $400,000 from an associate who did business with the state, in exchange for legislative favors. His attorneys said that money was paid to Bruno to act as a consultant and claim there was nothing illegal about that. Bruno was convicted on two counts of a section of the mail fraud law in 2009 known as "theft of honest services." But, the conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court. After the decision that a new trial could take place, Bruno claimed that would constitute double jeopardy.
One other difference yet to be seen, according to DerOhannesian, "Joe Bruno didn't testify in the first trial will he now feel this is his last chance to say what he did and that he is innocent?"
The trial will begin with jury selection on Monday. Judge Sharpe believed that a jury may be seated that morning, allowing time for opening statements to immediately follow. Then, the first witness could be called Tuesday.
ALBANY -- The case of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is heading back into the courtroom.
Matt Markham has the details.