From the Queens Chronicle:
This book was closed, some thought.
A series of convictions — culminating in the recent prosecutions of former state Sen. Joe Bruno and former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio — had finally cast light on Albany’s legislative underworld. Its most egregious players had faced justice. And newfound federal scrutiny would surely deter those who would follow their unseemly path.
But a trio of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court could soon turn back the clock — setting the stage for pols like Bruno and Seminerio to escape the long prison terms that otherwise await them.
The court began hearing arguments against the government’s “honest services fraud” law last Tuesday. Enacted in 1988, the law criminalizes ethical lapses among public and private officials. Should the justices strike it down, thousands of white-collar offenders convicted under the statute, including Bruno and Seminerio, could be set free.
At question is whether the law adequately defines corruption by establishing a clear line between minor moral lapses and criminal activity. In the first of two hearings last week, the justices seemed to agree it did not.