The final pre-trial conference was held Thursday in U.S. Northern District Court in Albany. Geoff Redick has the details.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Next week's re-trial of former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno will be nothing like his first trial in 2009.
At the final pre-trial conference Thursday, Federal Judge Hon. Gary Sharpe placed a gag order on the participating attorneys, same as last time. But through a special agreement, Sharpe also likely silenced the talkative Bruno himself.
Through lawyers, Bruno asked Judge Sharpe to shorten the upcoming trial days to a 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. schedule, rather than the usual 9 a.m to 5 p.m. The request is due to the 85-year-old Bruno's health.
Judge Sharpe granted the request, on the condition Bruno not hold daily news conferences on the Federal Court steps. It's something Bruno made a habit of during his initial trial in 2009.
Other than fostering the unique agreement, the rest of Thursday's pre-trial conference dealt with usual topics. Judge Sharpe addressed seven attorney challenges to the potential jury pool, and granted two of them, with a third grant expected. That will leave 62 potential jurors in Monday morning's pool, with attorneys expected to whittle that down to 16 jurors by lunchtime (12 jurors and four alternates).
Judge Sharpe also denied four motions from Bruno's camp to dismiss certain elements of prosecution evidence.
The former Senate majority leader is facing two counts of federal mail fraud. Bruno was convicted on similar charges in 2009, but the convictions were overturned at appeal due to a related Supreme Court ruling. The nature of that ruling warranted re-trial on more refined fraud charges.
For more on the complexities of the case, watch Time Warner Cable News' trial coverage, beginning with a special preview this Sunday.