In a filing unsealed on Thursday federal prosecutors revealed that they subpoenaed all eight Long Island Republican Senate colleagues of Sen. Dean Skelos in the course of building their corruption case against the former majority leader.
Prosecutors also said an early break in the probe came in materials provided by a developer -- since identified as Glenwood Management -- responding to a subpoena served in the investigation of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), who also faces corruption charges.
In papers filed with U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni that were originally redacted to protect secret grand jury matters, prosecutors said they issued more than 150 subpoenas, interviewed 80 witnesses and talked to dozens of lawyers from the launch of the probe in April 2014 until Skelos was indicted in May.
Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was ultimately charged with using his power to provide legislative favors to Glenwood Management, an environmental technology and a malpractice insurer in return for jobs and fees for his son, Adam Skelos, who also is charged.
Bharara was already looking into Skelos before subpoenas were issued in the Sheldon Silver case but the Skelos investigation got a new lead as a result of some subpoenas issued in the investigation into Sheldon Silver:
Federal prosecutors reaped a windfall when they subpoenaed a real-estate development firm last year as part of their investigation into then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and it turned up incriminating material about former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, new court papers state.
The prosecutors sent a grand jury subpoena to Glenwood Management in May 2014 as part of their probe into outside income earned by Silver, according to the Manhattan federal court papers.
“As part of the document requests, the Silver [Glenwood] subpoena asked for all documents concerning political contributions to state officials or parties, and concerning the New York State Legislature,” state the newly un-redacted court papers, which don’t mention Glenwood by name.
“In addition to the materials about Dean Skelos produced by Developer-1, starting in or about May 2014, the Government began issuing grand jury subpoenas related to Dean Skelos.”
The papers don’t make clear what the materials are.
The prosecutors had begun probing Skelos in April 2014 but their investigation had focused on his work for a Long Island law firm until his name popped up in the subpoenaed material from Glenwood, the papers say.
Within a few months, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigators broadened the probe to include Skelos’ son Adam, who was indicted alongside his dad in May.
There is some interesting information here.
What we learn is that Bharara was looking into Skelos's outside income before he got the Glenwood lead, but shifted focus after the Glenwood subpoenas.
The probe took a little over a year, from its launch in April 2014 to the indictments in May 2015.
It sounds like Bharara decided that Skelos was dirty and just started digging to find the evidence for criminal charges.
He didn't have to dig too far.
There is some useful information here that we can apply to the Buffalo Billion project investigation.
If the Skelos investigation is any indication, we can be pretty certain that whatever we know about via leak is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the investigation.
There was a lot going on in the Skelos investigation that we are only learning about after the fact - like the 150 subpoenas issued and 80 witnesses interviewed (including all of Skelos' fellow Republican state senator colleagues.)
Given how much money is involved in the Buffalo Billion project and how much the Cuomo administration and its various entities and allies have tried to hide about the business they have conducted in relation to it, there will plenty to look into.
Sunday night's New York Times story suggests at least some of that is happening.
And remember, that's what we know about.
As with the Skelos and Silver cases, there's a lot we don't know about that is perhaps going on behind the scenes.
I would bet there is a lot of pressure being put on this guy right now, for example.
What results from that, well, that's anybody's guess.
But one thing we can be sure of from the Skelos and Silver cases - just because we don't see stuff going on doesn't mean it isn't happening.
Again, this may not end up with criminal charges against Cuomo - but I would bet it does end up with somebody getting criminally charged ("Dr. Nano, I presume?")