ALBANY -- Joseph Bruno, the former majority leader of the State Senate, faces new federal fraud charges after his earlier convictions were overturned last year.

Bruno, a Brunswick Republican, pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court in Albany to two counts of honest services fraud. He was released without bail.

Federal prosecutors had promised to pursue a new indictment after an appeals court last year rejected convictions of Bruno, now 83.

That followed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case that such convictions must show direct bribes or kickbacks.

Bruno was convicted at trial in 2009 under a general theory he used his influence to make money in his sideline consulting business, depriving taxpayers of his honest services.

"We consider this to be a gross miscarriage of justice," defense attorney William Dreyer said. "It's absurd. It's a waste of taxpayer money."

The defense will request dismissal of the charges, and failing that will go to trial again, defense attorney E. Stewart Jones said.

The allegations are more than six years old, there's no factual truth in the indictment, and Bruno is now a private citizen and great-grandfather, he said.

"There was never a bribe. There was never a kickback," Jones said, adding the government has spent tens of millions of dollars on the case.

During breaks from his trial in 2009, Bruno repeatedly stood on the courthouse steps in Albany and told reporters he had done nothing wrong and simply had outside business interests like most of New York's part-time legislators. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison but remained free pending his appeal.

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