Former top New York lawmaker wants retrial moved from state

NEW YORK (AP) — A former top lawmaker in New York, citing “insurmountable prejudice,” wants his retrial on corruption charges moved to another state.

Lawyers for former Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, said in a Manhattan federal court filing Thursday that moving the trial to somewhere beyond the reach of the New York media is the only way to ensure a fair trial.

“Both the media and elected officials have cheered on the prosecution as part of a righteous crusade against public corruption,” the lawyers wrote.

They added that moving the trial was the only way “to prevent insurmountable prejudice to the defendants caused by a poisoned jury pool.”

Skelos and his son were convicted by a jury in 2015 of extortion, conspiracy and bribery. Dean Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison. His son got 6½ years. The prison terms were negated, though, when a new trial was ordered by a federal appeals court in Manhattan after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the law regarding public corruption.

The lawyers wrote that the case was “unusual because of the vitriol directed almost continuously for three years at ‘disgraced’ Dean Skelos and his ‘good-for-nothing’ ‘thug’ of a son Adam.”

They said it was doubtful that potential jurors in northeastern states beyond the New York metropolitan area have heard of Skelos or his son, but also suggested moving the trial to western Pennsylvania or beyond, including Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

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