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Former NYRA head among witnesses in Bruno trial

Updated: 05/13/2014 6:45 PM
Created: 05/13/2014 1:01 PM WNYT.com
By: Kumi Tucker

The prosecution is nearing the end of its case in the Joe Bruno retrial.

Among the many witnesses who testified was Charlie Hayward, the former head of NYRA.
There have now been two defense witnesses before the prosecution rested. Judge Gary Sharpe allowed the change in the usual procedure because of some scheduling issues.

On Tuesday the jury heard about the Senate, questions about Bruno’s consulting work, and a lot about NYRA.

The day began with Frank Gluchowski, former legal counsel to the Republican Senate Majority Conference.  He was also responsible for ethics issues.

Former State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, one of the most powerful men in the state, was paid $20,000 a month as a consultant for almost 18 months in what prosecutors say was actually a “no-show job” in a bribery scheme with businessman Jared Abbruzzese.
In return, prosecutors say Bruno used his official position to benefit the businessman, and steer state money to a company Abbruzzese invested in.

Bruno was also involved in a horse partnership with Abbruzzese, and prosecutors say this case involves the sale of a worthless horse.

Under cross examination, Gluchowski testified about a written agreement in which Abbruzzese paid Bruno $40,000 of an $80,000 debt for his interest in a group of horses.

The jury also heard from two former employees at Motient, one of the companies that paid Bruno. The financial officer and the attorney both testified about a series of e-mails that show there was confusion within the company about what Bruno was doing for $20,000 a month.

Most of the afternoon was spent on two NYRA leaders – board member Steven Duncker, and former CEO Charles Hayward.  Bruno is accused of using his official position to help advance Abbruzzese's interests in horse-racing, which include obtaining the racing franchise.

Bruno was asked several questions about NYRA on his way to lunch. He said, “I can’t talk about anything that’s active or going on. I really can’t. Other than everybody’s telling me I look tired. You know why I look tired – because I am tired,” he told reporters.

The prosecution has one more witness for Wednesday. 

The first two defense witnesses Tuesday afternoon were Jeanne Neff, former head of Sage Colleges, and prominent local developer John Nigro.

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