The former leader of the New York state Senate has been found not guilty of federal fraud charges. A jury announced the verdict in retired Sen. Joe Bruno's case on Friday, the second day of deliberations in Albany.
"We're just going to go on with our lives and pick up our lives and go forward," Bruno said on YNN. "And you know, I can say this. I served in Korea and I went there before the war ended, friends of mine were killed there, and we were there fighting for freedom. They were there, gave their lives, for freedom. And freedom means what just happened here. It's a long, torturous road, but I think democracy, Winston Churchill said, is the worst form of government except for all the rest. And this system, it works. Sometimes it's slow, but it works."
In closing statements, prosecutors and defense attorneys had accused each other of using half-truths and misrepresenting the testimony about Bruno.
Prosecutors said Bruno did no actual work for consulting payments while directing state grants to one of Abbruzzese's companies.
The 85-year-old Bruno didn't testify, but had denied any wrongdoing. Abbruzzese testified that the payments weren't bribes.
The Rensselaer County Republican led the Senate's majority for 14 years before stepping down in 2008.
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