NEW YORK, NY (09/26/2017) (readMedia)-- In response to breaking news that a federal appeals court has overturned the conviction of former New York State Senator Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner issued the following statement:
"Let us be clear, just like with Silver the facts in the Skelos case are not in question. Mr. Skelos used his position in government to extort favors for his family in return for taxpayer funded resources. Despite the Supreme Court's logic defying decision in McDonnell, a New York jury found this conduct to be clearly corrupt. Overturning Mr. Skelos' conviction based on the Judge's instructions to the jury, which occurred before the McDonnell ruling, does not redefine the facts in evidence. The U.S. Attorney's Office under Preet Bharara's leadership won its case, and we have every expectation that the people can win again at retrial. Dean Skelos is absolutely guilty of corrupting his office and violating the public trust of 19 million New Yorkers."
In 2014, Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell and his wife were indicted on corruption charges, charged with fourteen different counts all related to accepting gifts from Jonnie Williams, a CEO of a corporation with business before the state.
In return for accepting vacations, loans, and designer watches and apparel, McDonnell promoted Williams' product, Anatabloc, hosting events for him and encouraging state and private universities to conduct research on the supplement. He indicated that he had paid back the loans to Williams at the time of his indictment.
After a trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, he was found guilty, convicted of honest services wire fraud, and extortion and obtaining property both under color of official right.
McDonnell appealed the decision, but in July of 2015, the Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. McDonnell again appealed to the Supreme Court, and in August 2015, the Supreme Court ordered that McDonnell remain free pending its decision. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in June of 2016.