Updated: 05/09/2014 6:53 PM
Created: 05/09/2014 12:36 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff
ALBANY - The witness at the center of Joe Bruno’s two convictions in 2009 wrapped up his testimony on Friday.
Jared Abbruzzese was called by the prosecution, but sparred repeatedly with the government attorney, avoiding direct answers to the prosecution’s questions.
This much is clear – businessman Jared Abbruzzese paid former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno $20,000 a month plus $80,000 for a horse Abbruzzese acknowledges wasn’t worth nearly that much – at least $280,000 total.
If the money was given to Bruno so the leader would send state business Abbruzzese’s way, that’s likely proof of the bribe the prosecution must show.
Abbruzzese was confronted with a news release from former Governor George Pataki crediting Bruno with stealing $1.5 million state commitment to an Abbruzzese business interest.
During a lunch break, Bruno and his son Ken, the former Rensselaer County District Attorney did not want to talk about it.
“I can’t talk about what’s going on in the courtroom. You’re there. You can hear it. So I am not going to discuss any part of it,” Bruno said.
Bruno’s attorney developed testimony from Abbruzzese that the senator was used for Republican fundraising, so a “satellite scheme” might advance with the FCC in Washington.
The lawyer, E. Stewart Jones, got a direct “No” when asked if any of the Bruno influence was designed to pay for any official actions from the state of New York.
Prosecutors called six more witnesses after Abbruzzese got off the stand. The main purpose appeared to be bolstering the case that Bruno took numerous actions on behalf Evident Technologies, which is one of Abbruzzese’s companies, during the time that Bruno was being paid $20,000 a month and being paid $80,000 for the horse that the government argues was virtually worthless.
In the closing, Bruno’s attorneys argued that Bruno intervened on behalf of Evident Technologies, as he did for a number of other employers in this area. They say he saw that as part of his job. They would argue it had nothing to do with the consulting payments that he was receiving.