Updated: 05/12/2014 8:28 PM
Created: 05/12/2014 12:51 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff
Seven witnesses took the stand for the prosecution in the Joe Bruno retrial on Monday.
They testified about grants and the money Bruno was receiving on a monthly basis.
The witnesses on the stand on Monday began and ended with people who worked in the state senate with Senator Joe Bruno. The jury got an inside look at the workings of the Senate and also of the horse trade.
Mary Louise Mallick was the head of the Senate Finance Office. Continuing her testimony from last week, she said on cross-examination by the defense that she recommended making grants, and then-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno generally agreed, and that included a grant to tech company, Evident.
Prosecutors say Bruno, one of the most powerful men in the state, was paid $20,000 a month by businessman Jared Abbruzzese for almost 18 months as a consultant but really did nothing, and in return he steered state money to Evident, a company Abbruzzese invested in.
Mallick said Bruno was interested in technology in New York well beyond his district. Bruno touched on that as he walked to lunch.
“We became Tech Valley of the east – Silicone Valley of the east. That’s what our objective was. That’s why I say I’m proud of my public service. I can see all over upstate New York, and New York, a lot of the good things we did. I’m really proud of that,” he said.
Prosecutors have also said this case is about the sale of a worthless horse. Two witnesses in the horse trade talked about a filly that was small, behind the others, and eventually given away. They also said with horses, you never know – their value can change almost overnight. A horse that goes for very little money can end up making a big splash, like the horse that just won the Kentucky Derby.
The heads of two companies that paid Bruno for consulting work claim they did not know what he was doing for the money.
The last witness of the day was Frank Gluchowski, former legal counsel to the majority conference and also responsible for ethics issues within the conference. He talked about what he advised Senator Bruno about his consulting work.
Gluchowski worked on Bruno's consulting contracts and said he advised the senator to keep records of what he did, and not to use Senate resources for private business. He testified that he, not Bruno, helped compile disclosure statements.
The prosecution said it has five or six more witnesses, and could rest Tuesday.