ALBANY, N.Y. -- Just days after his acquittal on federal corruption charges, former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is looking to recoup the cost of his legal fees.
And he wants the state to pay for it.
According to Public Officers Law, Section 19, because he was prosecuted in relation to his official duties, the law says it is the state's duty to help pay up.
On Talk 1300 AM Radio Monday, Bruno said he intends to exercise his right under Public Officers Law, to regain as much as $4 million he estimates he spent in attorney fees.
Bruno calls it his right, after saying Friday that the federal investigation cost him his earning power.
"They literally have cost me, my life and family, of my ability to earn probably over $5 million," Bruno said.
The reimbursement would have to be approved by the state attorney general -- an approval which experts said will likely come down to the source of Bruno's money.
"A large portion, if not the majority of the money he used, came from campaign contributions and other outside contributions that he didn't pay himself. So I don't think anyone should begrudge him getting reimbursed for money that he paid out of his own pocket. But I think it's questionable that it the attorney general should allow that Senator Bruno get reimbursed for campaign contributions," said Blair Horner, of New York Public Interest Research Group.
The reimbursement would also have to go through the state comptroller. Over the last two years, that office has only paid out less than $25,000 in legal fee reimbursements -- a mere fraction of Bruno's $4 million estimate.
Despite numerous attempts to reach Joe Bruno through his attorneys and associates, Bruno did not respond to requests for an interview Monday.