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Judge rules on Dean Skelos bid to challenge witnesses

Dean G. Skelos, the former majority leader of

Dean G. Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York State Senate Credit: John Roca

Former State Senate leader Dean Skelos got a split result Thursday in his bid to subpoena damaging information about two key witnesses against him in his upcoming retrial on corruption charges in Manhattan federal court.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood refused to order the state’s Department of Financial Services to turn over files on Anthony Bonomo, the malpractice executive ousted from control of Physicians Reciprocal Insurers for mismanagement after testifying for the prosecution at Skelos’ first trial.

Bonomo testified under immunity in 2015 that Skelos used his power over malpractice laws to get a no-show job for his son, Adam Skelos, at Bonomo’s company. But Skelos’ lawyers hope the new allegations that led to Bonomo’s 2017 ouster hurt his credibility.

Wood hasn’t ruled on how much she’ll allow Bonomo to be questioned on those matters, but said a subpoena for the state agency for “any and all” documents, including financial records, phone records, invoices, insurance policies, emails, text messages, letters, or otherwise, was too broad.

“Investigative files often contain many documents that are inadmissible on hearsay or other grounds,” she said, calling the subpoena “insufficiently focused.”

Dean and Adam Skelos, both of Rockville Centre, were convicted in 2015 of using Dean Skelos’ political power to get his son jobs or consulting fees from a Bonomo-run affiliate of Physicians Reciprocal of Roslyn, developer Glenwood Management and Nassau County contractor AbTech Industries.

The two were sentenced, respectively, to 5 and 6 1⁄2 years in prison, but the convictions were reversed following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that narrowed public corruption laws. Bonomo, whose horse won the 2017 Kentucky Derby, is expected to testify again in the June retrial.

Wood did uphold subpoenas that could help Skelos impugn another prosecution witness: Charles Dorego, Glenwood’s general counsel, who testified that he helped Adam Skelos get title insurance fees to ensure his father’s support in Albany.

The judge said subpoenas issued to Glenwood and Dorego seeking information on “payments” he received from third parties could provide proof of illegal kickbacks on title insurance deals that would be “relevant and admissible to show Dorego’s motive to cooperate with the government.”

The retrial is scheduled to begin on June 18.

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