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In after-hours motion, Dean Skelos and son seek tossing of 2 charges in corruption case

New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and

New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam leave Southern District Federal Court in Manhattan after his initial hearing on corruption charges on Monday, May 4, 2015. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

ALBANY -- The defense attorneys for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, Friday night sought to have two corruption charges dismissed as well as some transcripts of intercepted telephone calls and emails that are the basis of the federal case.

The motion filed after hours with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan argued that federal prosecutors' charges of extortion and bribery are too vague. Dean Skelos' defense attorney, G. Robert Gage Jr., also seeks a private session with the judge to review the transcripts of the grand jury probe that led to charges against the Rockville Centre Republican and his son.

Skelos and his son face a Nov. 16 trial in Manhattan. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to indictments charging the men with shaking down a malpractice insurance company for a no-show job with benefits for Adam Skelos. In return, Dean Skelos is accused of supporting legislation favorable to the company, according to the federal case.

Dean Skelos' attorney who filed the motions declined to comment Friday night. The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who is prosecuting the pair, also declined to comment.

The motion disputes a key element of the prosecution's case: the alleged comments by Adam Skelos about what his father would do in Albany in his role as head of the State Senate. The defense attorney claims Adam Skelos made "misstatements" about his father's willingness to take official action to benefit the company and that Dean Skelos never agreed to "perform official acts."

The motion also says there is no evidence that Dean Skelos attempted to steer a Nassau County contract to a company in the scheme claimed by prosecutors.

The defense attorney claimed some of the cellphone calls intercepted by investigators were based on information that was "stale" and up to 2 years old.

"It appears the wiretaps were more of a fishing expedition than a necessary tool to further the government's investigation," according to the defense attorneys' motion. The motion called for evidence taken from the wiretaps to be suppressed, and not used in the prosecution's case.

The motion claims federal investigators first probed Dean Skelos' longtime role as a private attorney with a Long Island firm, but found no wrongdoing. That prompted investigators to probe Adam Skelos, the motion says.

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