Looking at the headline you might be confused and think that I’m once again talking about former state assembly Speaker and Democratic Hillary Clinton superdelegate Sheldon Silver, but you’d be wrong. Demonstrating that corruption is found on both sides of the aisle in the Empire State, elder Republican state senator Dean Skelos was also caught up in U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s net. After having been found to have used his position and influence to land some plum jobs for his son Adam (who was sentenced on the same day) in addition to some bribery and extortion, Dean is off to practice his license plate making skills alongside Speaker Silver.
Former state Sen. Dean Skelos and his son Adam were sentenced to prison Thursday on corruption charges.
Dean Skelos was sentenced to five years after a government filing demanded a stiff sentence of 12 to 15 years. Skelos’ son, Adam, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years…
“The nearly simultaneous convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, whose corruption crimes were laid bare during fair and public trials, have no precedent,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. “And while Silver and Skelos deserve their prison sentences, the people of New York deserve better.”
What they wound up getting at sentencing was both less and more than prosecutors were asking for. The original requested jail time was considerably longer, but prosecutors weren’t looking for as much of a fine as they wound up getting.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office asked District Judge Kimba Wood on April 5 to sentence Skelos to 12½ to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors said Skelos’ bribery and extortion convictions were among “the most serious public corruption crimes committed in New York state in recent memory.”
The judge actually let Skelos off on the light side. At Skelos’ age (68) a fifteen year sentence could well have represented the rest of his life. Five years is no picnic, but with the usual time off for good behavior, etc. he could well be out at the age of 70. The monetary cost went in the other direction though. Prosecutors were looking for $334K but the judge is making him repay $300K with an additional half million dollar fine on top of it.
In case you’re worried about Dean’s economic prospects when he gets out of the slammer, allow me to ease your mind with one additional footnote. Thanks to the generous and ancient laws in New York regarding the compensation packages offered to legislators, a conviction on corruption charges and breaking faith with the people he was sworn to serve, including a lengthy prison stay, will not affect Skelos’ taxpayer funded pension which is untouchable and will not be affected.
Assuming he lives to get out of jail he will still receive $95,000 per year for the rest of his life. Ah, New York… it’s a magical place.