Disgraced ex-state pol Dean Skelos wasted no time in begging a court to toss his corruption conviction on the heels of Sheldon Silver’s own stunning overturn.
In court papers filed Thursday, a lawyer for the former state Senate Majority Leader drew comparisons to his and Silver’s cases – saying both juries received “fatally overbroad” instructions about what constitutes an “official act.”
The former politicians’ trials also revolved around meetings that they both had with real-estate developer Glenwood Management, lawyer Alexandra Shapiro noted.
“Given the instructions, the court held that ‘the jury could have concluded easily, but mistakenly, that the meeting itself sufficed to show an official acts, and gone no further,’” Shapiro wrote in the two-page letter, citing Thursday’s decision to vacate the conviction of Silver, the former state Assembly leader. “The same is true here.”
But prosecutors argued that “there are several key differences” between the two cases – and that trial lawyers for Skelos and his son Adam, who was also convicted, failed to raise an objection to the “official act” jury instructions in time.
The same mistake was made at corrupt Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr.’s trial, resulting in his conviction being upheld this week.
“Based on the strength of the evidence presented at trial, any error in the jury instructions did not affect the defendants’ substantial rights,” Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim wrote of Boyland.
The US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Silver’s convictions on seven corruption counts as a result of a US Supreme Court ruling in another bribery case that narrowed the definition of an “official act.”
Skelos and his son were convicted in 2015 for shaking down more than $300,000 in payoffs by trading the father’s influence in Albany for no-show jobs and cash for his son.