On Thursday, July 4, a Manhattan federal judge rules that former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam can stay out of prison on bail pending the appeal of their corruption convictions. The judge said that they had successfully raised a “substantial question” regarding whether her jury instructions were erroneous or not.
In June, the unanimous decision to overturn the bribery convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by the U.S Supreme court is now being cited by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan as possible grounds for Skelos and his son to receive a new trial. In McDonnell’s case, the court concluded that routine political activities, such as scheduling meetings or reaching out to public officials, could not be the basis for criminal prosecutions.
Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood wrote that she’ll permit let the former-Senate Leader and his son remain out on bail because they have “shown that their appeals present a substantial questioning regarding whether this court’s jury instructions were erroneous in light of the United States Supreme Court’s holding in McDonnell v. United States.”
The judge also noted that Skelos and son pose no threat to their community and are not a flight risk.
In May the 68-year-old Dean Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison for abusing his political power to benefit his son Adam, who was sentenced to six and a half years behind bars. Judge Wood also imposed a fine of $500,000 on Dean Skelos.
In December, the father-son duo was convicted of bribery, corruption and conspiracy after prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office played tapes for the court that displayed Dean Skelos strong-arming companies into paying over $330,000 to his 33-year-old son.
Now both men will stay free on bail, possibly for many months, while the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals determines a decision for their case.
Neither the Skelos’ lawyers nor the US Attorney’s Office provided The Post with comments on these latest developments.