Bruno asks state to pay $2.4M legal bill

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
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— Former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has officially submitted paperwork with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seeking $2.4 million from the state for his legal expenses.

After being found not guilty of federal corruption charges, Bruno is seeking the money under a state law that allows for reimbursement and is urging Schneiderman to approve his request.

Schneiderman’s office received the documents over the last several weeks and is currently reviewing the request. There is no set time frame for responding.

In May, Bruno was found not guilty on felony charges he accepted $360,000 in bribes about 10 years ago from businessman Jared Abbruzzese. The Brunswick Republican served as leader of the state Senate from 1994 to 2008.

Bruno is pushing for compensation under the Public Officers Law, which allows for the reimbursement of defense costs incurred by state employees, with approval by the attorney general.

The law states: “It shall be the duty of the state to pay reasonable attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses incurred by or on behalf of an employee in his or her defense of a criminal proceeding in a state or federal court … upon his acquittal or upon the dismissal of the criminal charges against him.”

Shortly after being found not guilty, Bruno said on the Capital District Talk 1300 radio show that his legal fees exceeded $4 million, but he used $1.5 million from his campaign account to help pay those fees.

Schneiderman did not respond to a request for comment.

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