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Jury deliberating in Bruno retrial

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Albany/HV: Jury deliberating in Bruno retrial
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The jury will deliberate today in the Joe Bruno retrial in federal court in Albany. Both sides delivered their closing arguments Thursday afternoon. Our Geoff Redick who has followed the trial from the very beginning has more on the proceedings that took place in court.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Elizabeth Coombe, a prosecutor in the retrial for Joe Bruno, told jurors they have been behind the scenes of the New York State government. And according to her, it's not a pretty place to be.

She claimed Bruno used his power for personal gain, specifically to get rich from bribes.

"When the defendant understands that he is to take official action, to benefit the person paying him as opportunities arise, that is against the law," said Coombes in court.

Prosecutors said Bruno was paid $20,000 per month to direct millions of dollars in state grant money toward the companies of businessman Jared Abbruzzese. Bruno is also accused of manipulating the state process to revive the New York horse racing franchise so Abbruzzese could take over the multi-billion dollar industry.

"What the defendant did is disgusting, it is outrageous, it is unacceptable, and it is illegal," said Coombes.

The defense for Bruno started its closings by going after the prosecution.

"What you just heard was a continuation of an elaborate and deceitful shell game," said E. Stewart Jones, Bruno's defense attorney.

"You never, ever heard the prosecution ask a question about a bribery, a kickback, or a quid pro quo to Mr. Abbruzzese. And no witness in this case ever mentioned it," said Jones.

He said it's because that is the truth, and there was never any bribing. He directed his next remark at the prosecution.

"They can't handle the truth, because the truth derails their maniacal obsession to prosecute this innocent and honest man," said Jones.

On his way to lunch, Bruno made remarks of his own.

"I'm confident that the jury will do the right thing, and this ordeal will be over in my life," he said.

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