Ex-New York state Senate leader starts prison term

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NEW YORK (AP) - Former New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos began serving his four-year and three-month prison term Tuesday after he was convicted on corruption charges by a jury for a second time.

Skelos, 70, reported to the federal prison at Otisville, New York, which has a medium security facility and an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp.

His son, Adam, reported to the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, to begin serving his four-year sentence.

Skelos and his son were convicted in July on charges of extortion, wire fraud and bribery after prosecutors presented evidence that the elder Skelos pressured wealthy businessmen to give his son roughly $300,000 for no-show jobs.

Prosecutors said the payments were bribes designed to win support from the powerful Republican for legislation favored by the businesses.

Originally convicted in 2015, the men were given a second chance to defend themselves when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned their convictions, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Their 2018 trial ended with a conviction too.

Meanwhile, Democrat Sheldon Silver - the former state Assembly Speaker - remains free while he appeals his corruption trial conviction and seven-year prison sentence.

Last spring, a jury convicted Silver of taking nearly $4 million in return for legislative favors that he performed for a cancer researcher and real estate developers. Prosecutors said he earned another $1 million by investing the money.

Skelos and Silver were arrested in separate cases in early 2015.

Silver and Skelos were once among the three most powerful politicians in Albany, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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