Sunday, June 29, 2008

Paper refuses to report on Suddaby's Political prosecution

Further proof that US Attorney Glen Suddaby played politics with his prosecutions came forward over the Bruno Investigation as reported by Newsday and others. It was reported that after three years Suddaby has failed to prosecute Bruno because he did not want to upset his nomination to be Federal Judge by angering republicans.
The following was sent to and follow-up calls were made to the city desk and chief editor Mike Grogan of the Syracuse Post Standard. NOthing was reported a further sign of the news desks extreme prejudice.

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Report: Bruno asked about probe
Two stories worth reading today about the federal investigation of Joe Bruno, and his decision to leave the Senate:
The Daily News reports that a source says Bruno's lawyer reached out to inquire whether his departure would have any impact on the long-running investigation, but no deal was cut.
The Times-Union updates the probe itself, which is focused on whether Bruno's private business pursuits -- in horseracing, business consulting, and investing labor-union money -- have intersected with his lawmaking in a way that deprives constituents of his "honest services."
Apparently, 30 boxes of records were just turned over by the Senate to the FBI. Compliance had been delayed, and there are indications of possible tension among the feds. The Northern District of NY has been running the FBI probe, but now Southern District of NY (Manhattan) prosecutors are getting involved amid signs the FBI may think it's going too slow.
Northern District US Atty. Glenn Suddaby is awaiting Senate confirmation as a federal judge by the Senate, which hypothetically creates a situation where he may not want to alienate Republicans..
Bruno, at his press conference yesterday, denied his resignation had anything to do with the probe: "I've never been accused of anything, and I don't expect to be accused of anything because I haven't done anything wrong."
Posted by John Riley on June 25, 2008 8:38 AM Permalink

Retirement won't end FBI probe
Senate has turned over boxes of records sought in Bruno inquiry

By BRENDAN J. LYONS, Senior writer First published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008
ALBANY -- An FBI investigation of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno is moving forward and will not be derailed by his abrupt decision to leave elected office at the end of the year, people familiar with the case said.
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Bruno's announcement that he would not seek re-election comes as federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have visited Albany in connection with the nearly three-year-old criminal probe of Bruno's public and private business dealings, according to sources who spoke to the Times Union on condition they not be identified.
Several months ago, FBI agents from Albany met with prosecutors from the Southern District regarding the Bruno investigation, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.
The agents made an informal overture to the Manhattan-based federal prosecutors at a time when the FBI and prosecutors in New York's Northern District, under U.S. Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby, have been at odds about the handling of the Bruno investigation, which sources believe has been dogged by unnecessary delay.
Suddaby is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate to a position as a federal judge in upstate New York. He has declined to comment on the Bruno investigation.
In recent days, Boyd M. Johnson III, who leads the public corruption unit of the United States attorney's office for the Southern District, visited Albany around the time that boxes of records from the state Senate were turned over to federal authorities.
Sources close to the case said that the files had been requested by federal authorities months ago, but that the Senate delayed responding to the request.
It's unclear whether Johnson was in Albany specifically because of the Bruno records provided to the government.
The federal investigation is centered around Bruno's private consulting business, his horse breeding interests and the state's horse racing industry. Federal grand jury subpoenas also were issued regarding Bruno's work for a Connecticut company that received tens of millions of dollars in investment dollars from New York labor unions.
Bruno, 79, abruptly resigned from that investment company in December.
The senator's Brunswick consulting company, Capital Business Consultants, also has been a focus of the probe. Bruno has declined to identify his private consulting clients, or to disclose whether any of them have an interest in state government contracts or public funding. Like many other legislators, the senator has, when asked, also declined to disclose publicly the amounts of his personal income, net worth or debt.
Paul Holstein, chief division counsel for the Albany FBI field office, declined to comment on why agents had met with the Southern District prosecutors.
He said the office is "fully committed to the public corruption program, which is a high priority for the FBI, and are committing necessary resources to address ongoing investigations."
The investigation of Bruno is being headed by two agents with extensive experience in white-collar and public corruption cases, Michael Bassett and Charles Dougherty
Bassett has been with the agency 25 years and worked at field offices in Tampa, Fla., and Chicago, where he worked undercover posing as a commodities futures trader on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. That investigation -- Operation Sourmash -- led to dozens of convictions and legislative reforms.
In Albany, Bassett has been the case agent on several high-profile public corruption investigations, including the insurance fraud case involving Albert Lawrence and the state bribery case of Albany engineer Ronald Laberge.
Dougherty came to Albany from the Newark field office, where he worked white-collar crime and public corruption investigations for more than 20 years, including 12 years as a supervisor. Dougherty's work in the Newark office included investigations that brought convictions against multiple elected officials, including state senators, assemblymen and the former mayor of Newark, Sharpe James.
Early in the investigation, Bruno met with Bassett and another FBI official in Albany to discuss their probe, according to a person briefed on the meeting. Bruno responded to their questions about his business dealings, and his answers were documented in FBI files. It was a risky act for Bruno because citizens can be prosecuted for making false statements to federal agents involved in an official probe.
If a federal grand jury decides there are no criminal violations on Bruno's part, prosecutors have the option of providing Bruno or others with a letter indicating the panel took no action, a step that is akin to being exonerated.
Much of the investigation has focused on horse racing, an industry Bruno has staunchly supported and in which he has a deep personal interest.
The FBI probe outlasted a tumultuous period in New York's state-operated racing industry as it struggled to recover from allegations of mismanagement by its longtime operator, the New York Racing Association.
NYRA's contract to run the state's three thoroughbred tracks was renewed, but not before being imperiled by a heated takeover bid from several competing racing consortiums, including some whose investors have strong ties to Bruno and other elected officials.
More recently, the federal investigation has plied opinions Bruno received from the Legislative Ethics Commission that relate to his personal business ventures, including real estate development and horse breeding.
A person close to the investigation said federal authorities are examining the process by which Bruno received authorization from the ethics panel.
Bruno's attorney in Albany, William Dreyer, is a former federal prosecutor. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Dreyer's law firm has been paid more than $203,000 over the past two years from campaign funds connected to Bruno, records show.
A source briefed on the investigation said the FBI has built its investigation around the "honest-services" provision of federal statutes, a one-sentence amendment Congress inserted into federal law 20 years ago to close a loophole in its laws defining mail fraud and wire fraud.
The broadly written law prohibits anyone from depriving the public of an inherent "right to honest services."
Brendan J. Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at