NEW YORK (NEWS10) – The New York State Senate Majority Leader turned himself in to federal authorities on Monday.
Dean Skelos was seen Monday morning walking alongside his attorney. He and his son Adam embraced his son as they walked into a Manhattan federal court to turn themselves into federal authorities. Skelos has always said that he will cooperate with any investigation.
Now, Skelos and his son are being charged with six counts of extortion, honest services fraud and solicitation of bribery and gratuities in a 43-page criminal complaint. The U.S. Attorney said the scheme led Adam to make more than $200,000, and Skelos began working on it before he became senate majority leader, and in turn, the most powerful republican in the state.
Prosecutors claim they have two cooperating witnesses and wire taps to prove it.
In his own words, the senate majority leader told his son he was “going to control everything.”
One part of the complaint involves a real estate development firm. The U.S. Attorney said the firm paid Adam $20,000. In exchange, Skelos ensured the firm would receive tax breaks.
The other part of the complaint involved an environmental technology company based out of Arizona, AbTech Industries. AbTech hired Adam as a consultant and paid him $10,000 a month. Authorities said it was done with the understanding that the senator would steer government contracts their way.
Skelos denied any wrongdoing.
“At the conclusion of this process, I know that I will be found not only not guilty but innocent,” he said at a press conference following his court appearance. “I have absolute confidence and respect for our judicial system here in the United States of America.”
AbTech Industries Spokeswoman Lisa Linden released the following statement following the arrests:
“AbTech is cooperating and will continue to cooperate with federal authorities. Today’s charges do not detract in any way from AbTech’s innovative work and the unique, environmentally-beneficial solutions it provides to protect our water resources.”
Skelos would not say if he would try to keep his leadership position as the case moves forward. He released the following statement after his arrest:
“I am innocent of the charges leveled against me. I am not saying I am just not guilty, I am saying that I am innocent. I fully expect to be exonerated by a public jury trial.”
Both are due back in Manhattan federal court on June 3.
The investigation comes about three months after Assemblyman Sheldon Silver stepped down for his own arrest. Silver is also currently facing federal bribery and fraud charges.