Prosecutors in Bruno case granted extension

Monday, November 5, 2012
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— Federal prosecutors have been given until next Tuesday to respond to a defense motion to dismiss the new fraud indictment against former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

The response was due Monday, but U.S. District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe on Monday approved a request from Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Coombe for an extension until Nov. 13. The request was not explained.

Bruno’s attorneys last month sought dismissal of the indictment brought in May, claiming the charge was barred because it overlapped with his original 2009 indictment. They also asserted that prosecutors had missed a procedural deadline.

Bruno, 83, was convicted in 2009 of two felony counts of honest services fraud. But an appeals court last year threw out the convictions, after the U.S. Supreme Court tightened the definition of honest services fraud.

Prosecutors obtained a new indictment, saying they can meet the new evidence standard for honest services fraud, which requires proof that an official took bribes or kickbacks, rather than just had undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Bruno has consistently denied all wrongdoing, and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If the indictment is upheld, his second trial is slated to start Feb. 4 in U.S. District Court.

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