The Bruno jury in Albany is hung. After six full days of deliberation, the Jury has passed notes to Judge Gary Sharpe, a hard-drinking former U.S Attorney for this district, with questions that are all arguably favorable to the 81 year old Former Majority Leader in the New york Senate.
Joe Bruno the legendary longtime leader of the New York Senate Republicans stands accused of ” the theft of honest services, ” but the Feds never proved a crime at trial. New York’s political class is waiting with bated breath for a vedict.
The Judge in the Albany trial wanted to give the Jury an “Allen charge” – meaning a directive that they MUST reach a consensus when the have failed to do so. It gives juries the impression they cannot come back and announce they are deadlocked. It is a wicked pro-prosecution tool- after the first note requesting clarifications of the “reasonable doubt” standard- a true jump of the gun.
Supported for his job by Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sharpe has a son who is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the same office and jurisdiction where Bruno is being prosecuted . Sharpe should have recused himself on that basis alone.
Sharpe finally issued the charge to the Jury that they should continue deliberations after the jury sent a note saying they cound not reach consensus. Courtroom observers believe four of twelve jurors want to acquit the long time Republican Leader.
Throughout the trial Sharpe was hostile ,short tempered and contemptuous ,chiding former Bill Clinton lawyer Abbe Lowell not to “make speeches” when he tried to address the jury. The judge over-ruled Bruno lawyers 56 times and sustained them twice while ruling for the Government 47 times and overruling them twice.
Sharpe even launched a personal attack at Bruno over what he said was a comment by the Senator, but the OFFICIAL RECORD by the Court stenographer records no such comment; Bruno was leaning over talking to his lawyer- a Constitutional right. To hear about the Judges inappropriate rant go here
This charade must stop. The government’s case is a patchwork that includes testimony regarding conversations Bruno supposedly had with a dead Union president from a union thug brought from prison, who admits he never met Bruno, and Bruno associates given immunity to distort and lie about the Senator. The U.S .Supreme court has three reviews of this ‘honest services ” law, which is a overreaching prosecutors wet dream.
The Bruno jury has made it clear to the judge that they are hopelessly hung. So Sharpe sends them home at 4:45 each weekday with weekends and the Holidays off, wearing them down to push them to a guilty verdict, while implying that they must reach verdict.
The Feds have no bribe, no inapproriate use of authority, no official act by Bruno which benefited the Senator’s allowable outside clients.
I pray those who believe in justice on this jury not be steam-rolled by a prosecution and a hanging judge working together to take down a big fish.
Those citizens who want to contact Judge Sharpe and tell him you are watching and that his conduct is deplorable can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org . I am big on citizen input.