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Jurors deliver not guilty verdict in Bruno retrial

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Albany/HV: Jurors deliver not guilty verdict in Bruno retrial
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The jury has delivered a not guilty verdict in the retrial for former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

He was on trial for accepting $20,000 per month in consulting payments. Prosecutors argued were those payments were just bribes.

"I want to thank the good Lord, for answering our prayers," said Former State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

Just a few hours earlier, you might not have thought Joe Bruno had a prayer-for acquittal. But a strong circumstantial case and a prior trial conviction meant nothing, when it came to that 12 person jury.

"Who got together, and in short order came to a right decision and a positive decision," Bruno said.

The quick, less-than six hour deliberation resulting in the not guilty verdict, was not so easy a pill for the prosecution to swallow.

"I was disappointed in that. But that happens from time to time. I've been a prosecutor for a lot of years. Once in awhile you get quick verdicts. You hope the jury sifts through the evidence. I have no reason to believe they didn't," said U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian.

To the defense, a quick verdict meant a giant relief.

"They saw the case as they should have. The verdict was very quick, as you know. And we're very grateful for the wisdom, intelligence and perspective they brought to that jury," said Defense Attorney E. Stewart Jones.

"It should be pointed out that the jury made a very quick return, so they obviously evaluated the evidence as they went along," said Defense Attorney William Dreyer.

Bruno overcame a case that tied him to one wealthy man and a lot of alleged quid pro quos, bribes for official action. But our legal analyst Paul DerOhannesian points out, even the strongest cases can fail at trial.

"The prosecution tried to connect those dots to say 'Look, there's no other way to look at all these dots, other than a guilty conviction.' But that'a not what the jury did, because the jury doesn't have to accept those dots being connected the way the prosecution argued they should be connected," said Legal Analyst Paul DerOhannesian.

At the beginning of this trial, Joe Bruno said he was tired. Now at the end:

"I'm just thanking the good Lord for my blessings," said Bruno.

With this chapter of his life now behind him, Joe Bruno moves on to the next priority, continuing to recover from kidney cancer. He has an appointment with his kidney doctor at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City on Tuesday.

Bruno's defense attorney reacts to not guilty verdict:

Albany/HV: Jurors deliver not guilty verdict in Bruno retrial
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Bruno briefly addresses the media after the verdict:

Albany/HV: Jurors deliver not guilty verdict in Bruno retrial
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Press Conference: U.S. Attorney talks Bruno retrial:

Albany/HV: Jurors deliver not guilty verdict in Bruno retrial
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