Lawyers for Dean Skelos, the former New York Senate majority leader, and his son, Adam Skelos, who were convicted of all eight bribery, extortion and conspiracy counts against them in December, asked a judge on Wednesday to let them avoid prison and be sentenced to perform community service.
The requests by Skelos, 68, a Republican from Long Island who forfeited his Senate seat upon his conviction, and his son, 33, come less than a month before both are to be sentenced on April 13 for their convictions in one of the two most prominent public corruption trials to be held in New York City in decades.
The other trial was of Sheldon Silver, the former state Assembly speaker, who was convicted of corruption charges on Nov. 30. He is to be sentenced on the same day by a different judge, also in a federal courthouse in Manhattan.
Skelos and Silver, D-Manhattan, were once among the most powerful leaders in the state. Their trials, which exposed influence peddling and other forms of corruption in Albany, seemed to put the capital’s culture, itself, on trial.
Skelos’ lawyers said in their memo to the judge, Kimba Wood, that his sentence should include a “multiyear period of community service.”
“By suggesting a sentence of extensive community service, we do not seek in any way to minimize the seriousness of the offense,” the lawyers, G. Robert Gage Jr. and Joseph B. Evans, wrote to the judge.
Rather, they said, they were asking that Wood “balance Skelos’ lifetime of good works against the aberrational conduct that resulted in the conviction.”
They added that Skelos posed “no risk to society” and that there was no risk of recidivism. “Mr. Skelos’ political career is over,” they wrote. “Mr. Skelos will never again be in a position to commit the sort of crimes for which he is convicted, nor would he if given the opportunity.”
In the trial, prosecutors persuaded the jury that Skelos and his son had used the father’s official position to pressure a Manhattan developer, an environmental technology company and a medical malpractice insurer to provide Adam Skelos with roughly $300,000 via consulting work, a no-show job and a direct payment of $20,000.
The jury listened to some four dozen secretly recorded telephone conversations, many between the senator and his son, which contained angry rants by Adam Skelos about his father’s political rivals — including a profane derision of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and criticism of Adam Skelos’ business associates.
The jury deliberated for only about eight hours over two days before delivering its verdict in a packed courtroom on Dec. 11.
The lawyer for Adam Skelos, in his memo to Wood, cited what he called “compelling reasons for mercy” in asking that his client be spared prison.
The lawyer, Christopher P. Conniff, noted that Adam Skelos had two young sons, both with autism, and was separated from his wife.
A sentence of “substantial community service and counseling,” Conniff added, could “give Adam the opportunity he needs to support his children and continue to transform his life.”
Conniff added that Adam Skelos recognized that “the crimes for which he has been convicted are serious and have undermined the public’s confidence in its public officials.”
“While Adam is not himself a public official,” Conniff wrote, “he now realizes that he was wrong to try to exploit the power of his father’s Senate office for personal gain.”
The office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which has not yet filed its own sentencing memo in the case of the two men, declined to comment on Wednesday.