Tales of Albany: Why Joe Bruno Quit
It's just a footnote to history now, but for those keeping score on Albany misdeeds it's worth noting that when former senate majority leader Joe Bruno announced last June that he would not seek reelection after 32 years in office, it wasn't just to have some retirement fun as he claimed at the time.
The Albany Times-Union reports today that Bruno had already been told directly that he risked indictment and was in the midst of discussions with federal prosecutors at the time of his announcement. One week later on June 30, Bruno signed a letter waiving the five-year statute of limitations on the criminal conduct that the feds were probing.
"I understand that a final decision with respect to seeking criminal indictment in this matter will be delayed," states the letter, as quoted by the newspaper.
A couple of weeks later, Bruno resigned altogether from the senate after 32 years in office.
It was the first of three waivers Bruno signed, the T-U reports. Prosecutors often request such waivers in order to continue investigating, with the understanding that they are prepared to go forward with criminal charges immediately if the target of the probe balks at signing.
Bruno was indicted in January on eight felony counts of lying about his private busness on state filings. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted. He's pleaded not guilty.
When he announced last year that he was stepping down, the salty ex-boxer was showered with praise by colleagues. The Times even cited unnamed investigators saying the senator's timing "did not appear to be related to a federal investigation of his outside business interests."