Key Figures in the Trial of Dean Skelos – The New York Times

Now that the corruption trail of State Senator Dean G. Skelos, Republican of Long Island, and his son, Adam Skelos is underway in Federal District Court in Manhattan, the New York Times offers a scorecard listing some of the central players in the case.

The Skelos and son case centers on charges that they illegally used the senator’s power and influence as the former majority leader to help Adam Skelos gain over $300,000 in “bribes, gratuities and extortion payments” from the senator’s campaign donors and people with business before the state.

The senator was one of the state’s three most powerful politicians until his arrest. Skelos and his son have pleaded not guilty to the eight-count indictment.

The cast of key witnesses can be found by clicking on the link below:

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The Skelos trial feels a lot like a mafia trial | New York Post

The New York Post’s Kyle Smith goes full Mafia in his description of the Skelos family trial, witness testimony and email evidence. His final grafs are worth a reprint.

“Lawyers for the scheming Skelosi are hoping to change the subject from corruption to fatherhood: Don’t all daddies dote on their little boys?

Sure. This is all totally routine father-son stuff. Like Ward and the Beav.

Or maybe a little more like Don Vito and Fredo Corleone.”

Read the full Smith report here >>

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Sheldon Silver’s merry-go-round of lies has no end | New York Post

Kyle Smith of the New York Post reported that on Tuesday:

“[Jurors] got to hear [from former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver] when prosecutors played tape of him telling The Post’s longtime Albany observer Fredric U. Dicker that he was just a humble lawmaker.

“My clients are little people. I don’t represent any corporations, I don’t represent any entities that are involved in legislation,” Silver said on a May 2008 recording.
Witkoff and Glenwood are multibillion-dollar players in the New York real-estate game. They are far from little.

Judge Valerie Caproni praised Dicker’s interviewing skills: “He’s trying to figure out how he got the referrals. It turns out to be an incredibly prescient question,” Caproni said.”

The federal prosecutors are laying out a very detailed case ladened with direct credible testimony and powerful exhibits meant to lead Jurors to one conclusion. It will be interesting to see how Silver’s defense team creates reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.

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Gelinas: Want Less Corruption, Free Markets

The NY Post’s Nicole Gelinas sees free markets as the answer to political corruption in NY:

“[M]any of the city’s real-estate interests don’t prefer honest politics. They’re happy to have someone who will do favors.

You see the same thing at play with the guy who’s trying to become a powerful politician: Mayor de Blasio. As a New York Times report detailed last week, developers are showering hundreds of thousands of dollars on his shadow “non-political” action committee.

But because de Blasio’s dirty-dealings power base is fragile — he couldn’t even get the horses banned — the developers control de Blasio, rather than the other way around.

The mayor hasn’t garnered the voters’
respect, because they can see who works for whom. Why do you think the city hasn’t used its rezoning power to limit the super-tall towers whose shadows increasingly darken Central Park?”

Read the full op-ed here:

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Dicker: Vito Lopez Is Dead

Former Assemblyman Vito Lopez has died.

The NY Post‘s Albany bureau chief Fred Dicker reported on Tuesday that former Assemblyman Vito Lopez has died.

"Sources said the Brooklyn legislator was taken to Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center and passed away Monday night.

Lopez, 74, had been battling cancer for years.

The Brooklyn legislator was once one of the most powerful officials in the state until being brought down in a sexual harassment scandal. He resigned from the Legislature in 2013."
Skype: SquarePegDem
Mobile: 862-232-4085

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from: Michael Benjamin

Hi! Benjamin

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Albany Corruption Trial Opens November 2


Ex-New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s trial set to begin Nov. 2.

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Clinton vs Sanders: she didn’t crack and he wasn’t a crackpot |

“We’re not Denmark,” remarked Hillary Clinton as she went nativist in a swipe at European socialism and her Democratic presidential rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, America’s only elected democratic socialist. That dig was one of several cutting remarks meant to separate Clinton from the socialist Brooklyn native hot on her heels.

During the first Democratic presidential debate, Sanders fired back at Clinton’s coziness with Wall Street, saying he “believes in a system where all people do well.” All night they (and the three lackluster Democrats they shared the stage with) tussled on income inequality, gun control, tax cuts, criminal justice reform, climate change and Glass-Steagall.

Both Clinton and Sanders were winners Tuesday night, because she didn’t crack and he didn’t come across as a crackpot. The other good news for Hillary is that she put the #DraftBiden movement to bed with her strong performance. Sanders aided Clinton by failing to take her legs out on Wall Street, the Iraq War, income inequality and her email controversy. It appeared that the debate was his to lose.

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Just don’t call these consultants lobbyists They move government without having to disclose their activities. Call them clever, call them stealthy.

Just don’t call these consultants lobbyists

They move government without having to disclose their activities. Call them clever, call them stealthy.

[A fine bit of writing and reporting from Chris Bragg]

The fine line that separates lobbying from other activities is defined under city and state laws as "any attempt to influence" legislation, executive orders, agency rules and regulations having the force and effect of law, and a host of other governmental actions. Registered lobbyists face paperwork requirements to comply with disclosure rules—and fines if they don’t.

Strategic consultants, on the other hand, do not have to register, and regulators rarely flag cases of unregistered lobbying—something registered lobbyists often gripe about.

Still, just because a consultant meets with a lawmaker does not mean he or she is lobbying, legal experts say. Moreover, these consultants say they refrain from asking lawmakers to make policy decisions benefiting clients not only to avoid crossing into what’s defined in law as lobbying, but also because they don’t want to risk harming their close relationships with politicians.

That may seem counterintuitive. After all, to attract clients, traditional lobbyists often tout their access to lawmakers. But in an era of unprecedented media saturation, savvy politicians may curtail access for fear of unwanted attention from meeting with lobbyists.

"It’s very cumbersome, and there’s always the ‘gotcha’ factor," said Sid Davidoff, a longtime lobbyist who heads the New York Advocacy Association, a trade group. "Once you’re in the system, you’re under the watchful eye."

Read more:

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Conservative Harlem minister announces challenge to de Blasio | POLITICO

Politico New York reported on Monday that conservative minister Rev. Michel Faulkner announced his plan to challenge Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017.

Rev. Faulkner, left, with GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson and NY GOP special adviser John Burnett in Harlem last month.

“On Monday morning in Times Square, Mayor Bill de Blasio got his first 2017 challenger: an African-American, socially conservative former New York Jet who is now a Harlem minister.

Faulkner is unlikely to be de Blasio’s only challenger — Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Comptroller Scott Stringer have both been floated as possible contenders — but he’s certainly an early one.”


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