ALBANY - Joseph Bruno, once one of the most powerful political figures in New York, was sentenced yesterday to 2 years in prison on two federal fraud counts.

Bruno, 81, was the Republican leader of the State Senate for 13 years, controlling that chamber's legislation and billions of dollars in spending. He was convicted Dec. 7 of using his office to help a businessman who paid him as a consultant and in a horse venture, violations of the federal honest services law.

Bruno was acquitted of five other counts involving accusations he used his position to help two other businessmen and two investment companies interested in handling union pension funds.

The jury was unable to reach a decision on another count.

Bruno told friends and relatives after his sentencing that he'd be OK. "It'll be all right," he said. "It'll be fine."

Bruno didn't testify at trial but repeatedly told reporters he had done nothing wrong and was just another part-time legislator with an outside consulting business. His legal bills have been estimated at $2.5 million.

He was asked after sentencing if he was sorry.

"I don't believe I have anything to apologize for," Bruno said. "I tried not to break any laws."

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