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State pays $300G to lawyers in Assembly sex harassment cases in June

ALBANY - Taxpayers paid out $300,000 in June to lawyers in sexual harassment cases in the Assembly, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The comptroller also approved a $381,000 payment to the law firm of O'Connell & Aronowitz for defending former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno against corruption charges. Bruno was acquitted of the federal charges in 2014 after a second trial. He will collect $2.4 million from the state to compensate for the cost of his defense lawyers.

DiNapoli said June's bills include $227,000 to the Hogan Lovells firm to "defend the Assembly in pending sexual harassment litigation." Another $23,000 was spent for outside lawyers to help develop a new sexual harassment policy and for investigations.

And $3,000 was approved in June to the law firm of Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna for the appeal by former Assemb. Michah Kellner. In November a hearing officer rejected sexual harassment charges against Kellner, saying the Assembly Ethics Committee violated his due process rights.

A spokesman for the Assembly's Democratic majority didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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