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This episode contains some strong language. It's April two thousand thirteen clear and chilly as if winter is trying to claw back a little bit of spring that New Yorkers have started to enjoy for the last few weeks and inside the offices of dean Scelo the most powerful Republican in the state. The mood is grim. Skela spent another sleepless night worrying about his son, Adam he's running out of money again over the years. Adam has struggled with drugs and alcohol. Staying in school and holding down a job dean tried to help him even using his influence to get him work. But at thirty two ADEMA still struggling and as a single father dean skeletal feels obligated to help skeletons runs his hands through his thick grey hair then reaches for his phone to call Charles d'auray. Go a senior executive at Glenwood management, one of New York's top real estate, developers Glen would also happens to be one of the state's tough political donors. They've given. Millions of dollars in campaign funds to the three most powerful men in New York politics. Andrew Cuomo, Sheldon, silver and dean skeleton self in exchange. The firm has been granted access and favor. But today that access is going to have far reaching consequences. Senator scallops, how are you? Hi, charles. I just wanted to thank you again for helping Adam land the consultant job with I think it's gonna work out well for everybody. But but I need a favor. Charlie we need to get addict salary up four grand a month. Just isn't cutting it Adams got two kids mortgage in. Well, money's tight deroga- size. He's gotten a lot of these calls from Senator skeleton the last two years, he even secured, Adam a twenty thousand dollar commission for work. He never did. Why are Adam scallops money problems his problems? But he knows the answer. Glenwood has a lot of business before the state. Senate majority leader scallops has a lot of influence. Senator I contrive, but he has no experience in the environmental space. Well, he's a quick learner. Now about this water project deal. The company ABC TEK has submitted a bid for twelve new dollar water treatment contract with Nassau County scallops home turf and to Rego's company. Glenwood is invested in the deal Scalise. Cuts to the chase. He can make it happen or Nixon. I would hate to see things. Go south remorse. Senator short that. If I helped get atom Ajab you'd help us with the contract. Now, I'm asking you to bump up his salary touch. Charleston hangs up the phone skills. He feels trapped reluctantly he opened his computer to compose a letter to Glenn rink app. Tech's CEO, there's no gray area here. It's pain or don't play. American scandal is sponsored by Madison Reed scandals. Come in all shapes and sizes, some are salacious headline-grabbing summer sinister threats to our values and some are. 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Madison Reed would like to honor American scandal listeners with ten percent off plus free shipping on their first color kit with promo code s that's Madison dash re dot com. Promo code a s. From wondering, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American scandal. This is the fourth and final episode in our series about crime and corruption in New York's capital of all in our last episode governor, Andrew Cuomo created a commission to investigate corruption in state government. Finally, someone was doing something to clean up the political cesspool. But then nine months later Cuomo abruptly shut it down after a closed-door budget session with assembly speaker, Sheldon, silver and Senate majority leader dean scallops, the three men in a room had come to a consensus about Cuomo's ethics reform package, and the commission was no longer needed. There's one federal prosecutor who has no intention of letting go if all he doesn't wanna clean its own house, then prepo ARA, we'll do it for them. This episode for two men in acelle. The Manhattan offices of the US attorney for the southern district of New York are stark and cold, but the career prosecutors who inhabit them have much more important things on their minds than office decor. The southern district called the SDN wine attracts the best and brightest from the country's finest law schools. They're like a legal special ops unit laser focused on anybody breaking federal laws. Their specialty is prosecuting mobsters terrorists, white collar, criminals on Wall Street and corrupt politicians. On thursday. April tenth two thousand fourteen the district's top lawyer US attorney pre Perahera is in his office. Hastening his red ties loosened his sleeves rolled up ever since he got the news at Andrew Cuomo had shut down the Moreland commission. He's been livid. He thinks the public interest was bargained away behind closed doors in a meeting between the three men in a room, the most powerful politicians and Albany. And as US attorney in the equally powerful southern district of New York, he intends to do something about it. Legislators Albany with something to hide may have thought they could breathe a sigh of relief with the commission off their backs, but they were wrong right now across town. A handful of FBI an SDN NY agents are emptying out the offices of the Moreland commission under orders to cart away, every computer and every box of documents collected over the course of their nine month investigation into public corruption. Pre brewers team standing by to receive. Dozens of interviews depositions with former and current legislators and other public officials received through over two hundred subpoenas and he fully intends to examine every campaign donation every piece of suspect legislation every reference to anything than mildly whiffs of wrongdoing at the capitol. Whether Berar crack team will find anything that will help them. Finally, bring top lawmakers to Justice too soon to tell but for Berrara known as the enforcer won't be for lack of trying. Over the next few months brewers team begins sifting through the millions of documents and they quickly find there's a lot to be suspicious about things like lawmakers who spent campaign dollars on trips to occupy Oko tanning, salon sessions, and even cat food. But Berrara isn't interested in that he searching for evidence of bigger misdeeds bid, rigging bribe, solicitation and influence peddling, the New York state legislature works part time and many office holders have other jobs. The temptation to blend the two for personal gain is big Sheldon, silver, the powerful. Speaker of the assembly has an outside job at a law firm called whites and Luxembourg what barometers team doesn't know is exactly how much he makes what he does. So like the Moreland commissioners before them they follow the money and subpoena Whiteson Luxembourg for their accounting records. What they find is. That silver receives not only a base. Salary but has also received more than three million dollars in referral fees. Over the years from cases, involving cancer patients nearly all of them have been treated by a doctor named Richard town. When investigators interviewed Dr town, they learned he referred cases. Two silvers firm in exchange silver, funneled half a million dollars from a state health healthcare fund to tabs clinic. No oversight. No records, a classic case of quid pro quo, and that's not silvers only lucrative scheme in December. The SDN y turns up another suspicious arrangement, an obscure to person law firm has been paying silver substantial fees, which he did not reveal on his income filings. And it's not clear what if anything he's been doing for them silver is a personal injury lawyer. The firm specializes in real estate tax abatement, which silver knows nothing about what on earth. Are. They paying him for. When reporters press him for answers, silver refuses to talk. He's indignant defensive insists he's following the law, but that law is easy to follow. It allows legislators to earn as much money as they want from whomever. They want without reporting what they're doing to earn it as long as that money. Doesn't influences job at the capitol. What's silver is doing is perfectly legal and silver swears none of his outside. Clients have any business before the state but pretense Vesa Gators soon. Learn that's not true, the senators earnings from that small real estate firm are the result of a kickback scheme involving one of New York's most influential real estate, developers Flynn would management plan wins name cropped up during the Moreland commission. It was involved in that ABC investment that Scalise was calling about. And it's impossible to deny the Glenwood has plenty of business with the state of New York. It's the connection Berrara needs to show that Sheldon silver side, hustles aren't simple. Shady. They're illegal. At midnight, January twenty second two thousand fifteen the New York Times post the story online. It says the FBI would be American scandal is sponsored by Brooklyn. I was sick recently, which not only caused me to miss my daughter's fifth birthday party. But it wasn't able to work on the show. Like, I planned either. I'm just barely finished it before deadline instead I was stuck in bed all weekend. Which got me thinking dang. These are good sheets there from Brooklyn dot com. I've got their Lux core sheets set in solid smoke. They have a cool crisp yet silky feel these are luxury hotel sheets, but they're priced affordably because Brooklyn and got rid of the middleman and keeps their relationship with customers as personal as possible. My Brooklyn and sheets are the best most comfortable sheets I've ever slept on. And now it's time for your upgrade. 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It's now a week after Sheldon, silver, and everyone wants to know who will be the next to fall the Moreland commission, spare no one in their investigation and pre Perahera is clearly following up on all their leads on January twenty ninth. The New York Post reports that the southern district of New York has its eyes on the next most powerful lawmaker in Albany dean scallops later that day on a TV show with journalists. Richard French panel of pundits speculates arrests may soon. Become I think that if I'm dean skulls. I'm hiring council tonight. Because an all likelihood he's got the same. Shelly problem. And in all likelihood will be arrested or indicted daily question is. Our next near dean, skeletons, unsure what Berrara and his team have on him. But if they found out about the jobs arranged for his son, Adam both father and son could go down hard skeleton has been trying to make Adam Lee low, but nobody not even being can control his son. Now, he's worried about wiretaps Adam encourages his father to learn how to use FaceTime and switched to a burner phone one. He believes can't be tapped. But he is wrong Peron team have been listening in on father and sons conversations since just before Christmas, so far they've only heard a lot of complaining about Cuomo and dean scheming with his son about how he can divide and conquer the crafts. But Berrara is still listening. As the winter wears on dean tries to act like everything's normal. He leads Senate Republicans in session as he always has. But it's not easy with silver gone. There's a feeling of paranoia in the halls of the capitol then on March twenty eighth two thousand fifteen Scelo says working through budget numbers when the phone rings. It's his son, Adam, and he's in a foul profane mood. Got gotta talk to you. Adam I'm in Albany. I'm trying to finalize the budget. I have no time right now. It's really important that about haptic. You know, we can't talk about that. But Adam won't shut up damnit, dad. You can't give me real advice about the problems having with ABC anymore. You can't talk normally because it's like fucking Perahera is listening to every fucking phone. Call fucking frustrating. It is that comb like several before is Conan tape. And it's that call that prepere are will later say is the moment, he knew that father and son definitely had something to hide then Berrara gets another gift Glenwood. Management executive Charles Durango is willing to cooperate the same Charles deroga- who for years had been fielding dean skeletons calls to help us on get a job. And then a raise at a firm Glenwood has an interest in abject deroga- job at Glenwood is. To hire lobbyists and spread campaign donations wherever the money will do the most good Cuomo, silver scallops have all been on the receiving end of Glen woods largesse. Hang politicians is a long standing tradition. Started by Glenn woods owner Leonard Littman who's now. One hundred years old. Glenn was able to get around campaign finance laws by contributing money through a maze of twenty six LLC's. And those donations have paid the company back thousands of times over over time. They've received tax breaks worth seven hundred million dollars to Berar team. It looks a lot like Glenwood is buying influence and that makes Charles de radio nervous. What the firm has done is technically legal, but only technically and to Rego doesn't wanna spotlight put on the company or his one hundred year old mentor when the SDN y prosecutors finally meet with Durango, they tell him they are naming Litwin as a co conspirator in the case, they're building against dean and Adam Skele's, but directo can save Litwin from prosecution if you agreed to cooperate and wear a wire deroga- never imagined he beyond this end of cloak and dagger type stuff he was just trying to do his job. Make sure Glenwood prospered and skeleton. Didn't punish the firm. What he greased the deal begins to share everything he knows less than a month later on may fourth two thousand fifteen pre Perera takes the podium in the press room of the offices of the southern district of New York finally puts the whispers and rumors to residents of New York today, we unseal a criminal complaint against the majority leader of the New York state Senate, dean Skela and his son Adam skills, charging them with public corruption. Offenses. In summary, the complaint charges in six counts that dean Scelo unlawfully used his power and influence as Senate majority leader repeatedly to illegally enriches, son, Adam and indirectly himself reporters race to call in the story and the news quickly spreads across the state and the country breaking news majority leader of the New York state Senate and his son are an SBA custody right now on federal corruption charges skills Adams power to aid in environmental company in a big New York developer with the understanding that they steer money toward his son. Adam around two hundred thousand dollars all told the younger skilifts faces similar charges to his father. They're both released pending trial. But it's going to me an anxious. Wait. The same day. Several legislators call for skeleton step down from his leadership post, but many Republicans close ranks after a four hour meeting. They assure skills. He still has their confidence Skela tells the press he's staying on for one very simple reason he's innocent. And then he says it again three more times, but scallops reprieve doesn't last may eleventh under growing pressure. He's asked to step down and agrees. He tells reporters then it was the right decision to step aside. My frankly, I think I was somewhat of distraction incredibly dean scales is the fifth consecutive Senate majority leader to go down in the face of criminal corruption charges in less than six months to the most powerful men in New York state legislature have been charged with multiple felonies. Six months later on November second two thousand fifteen Sheldon silver's corruption trial begins at the Thurgood Marshall courthouse in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the district. He still represents although silver resigned his position speaker he still retains his seat in the assembly, pending the outcome of his trial. If he's convicted he will mmediately be expelled from the legislature. Those of the rules rule silver will have to abide by for a change. He's facing seven corruption charges in all including extortion, money laundering, and wire fraud, they carry a potential penalty of one hundred thirty years in prison. A jury of nine women and three men will determine his fate. Silver arrives at the courthouse wearing a dark suit fedora hat in his hands again, photographers are there to greet him. When asked to predict how the trial will go silver says firmly, I will be vindicated after a full airing of the facts in opening statements. Federal prosecutors contend that shell them silver is a garden variety. Crook who sold his office to the highest bidder they say that over a ten year span silver accepted, kickbacks and bribes totaling nearly four million dollars including money tied to luxury real estate firm silvers. Attorney vehemently denies the charges. He claims conflicts of interests are just part of the job. But that doesn't mean silver did anything illegal then the prosecution calls, I witness assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the attorneys want her to explain to the jury how Albany works when asked who control the committee chairmanships. She says silver staff, hires, silver, seating, arrangements and budget negoti. Nations silver. She explains all major legislation including budget was done by silver's office at the behest of silver himself, only after he finalize it with Cuomo and skills. The jury makes furtive glances at one another is this really how their state government works three days into the trial. The prosecution puts their key witness on the stand, Dr Robert tau, seventy nine year old cancer researcher, who's been granted immunity, the prosecution contends that silver secretly funneled state funds to the doctor's clinic in exchange for patient referrals to silvers law firm, whites and Luxembourg tab, avoid die context silver as he tells the prosecutor about the arrangement over the course of several years. He referred nearly two dozen patients and silver got him grants for five hundred thousand dollars. He admits he found it peculiar the silver asked him not to divulge the source of the money, but he needed to carry on his work people's lives were at stake. And he was. Unaware that silver getting kickbacks on day seven of the trial. Prosecutors introduced yet another kickback scheme a fee sharing arrangement with luxury real estate developer Glenwood management, the same Glenwood management who has been helping Berrara in his case against Adam and dean Skele's the prosecutor show. The jury a letter outlining house overs scheme worked in exchange for a cut of Glenwood. Business through a small law firm silver uses political influence for favorable legislation silvers prospects for an acquittal appear to be diminishing by the day in closing arguments. Prosecutor Andrew Goldstein sums up the government's case by saying this lays gentleman was bribery. This was extortion. This was corruption the real deal to not let it stand. The defense insists silver did nothing illegal and the charges were tremendous blow for someone who fought for the people of New York for a long time after over a week of testimony. A parade of witnesses and a significant body of evidence silvers reputation and his freedom are in the balance. Now, it's up to the jury. American scandal is sponsored by ancestry. You might have heard me talk about my grandfather before he's a mystery to our family, and certainly to my father who's been trying to track down his father's true density for decades. The intrigue started when my father knows the name grave on my grandfather's World War One medals was Clayton. Not graham. Oh, that's because I took my cousin's name to get into the army. I was too young to enlist he told my father, but that wasn't true. His name was Clayton. He changed it to Graham sometime after he left England for Estrella leaving behind a wife and children. My father never knew about a whole other family whose existence my grandfather never hinted at why did he leave? What was he running from? These are not questions, we know the answers to, but we do know he left, and we do know. Now a lot more about him and the Clayton family through an. Ancestry. I took the ancestry DNA test. 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The jury finds Sheldon silver guilty. Silvers wife, Rosa and his donors breakdown in psalms silver looks back them, sadly. But there is nothing. He can do silvers lawyers. Tell the judge they will file for appeal and ask that silver remained free on bond. The judge agrees and sets a sentencing date of may two thousand sixteen enough time to mount the appeal. But there will be no return to Albany for Sheldon silver. He is immediately expelled from the assembly now, all he can do is hope that the appeal process works nece favor or throw himself at the mercy of the court. After congratulating his team pre Perahera leaves the courtroom with a spring in his step when reporters asked for his reaction. He says today, Sheldon, silver, got Justice and at long last. So did the people of New York? But silver's isn't the only corruption trial happening at this time as his verdict is handed down. Former Senate majority leader dean Scelo is in the third week of his own federal Trump's and trial right across the street. He and his son are charged with six felony corruption counts, including conspiracy bribery, and extortion that two of the state's most powerful elected officials are on trial simultaneously on the same block is unprecedented in New York history and a testament to the hard work of prepere ours team when scallops exits the courtroom after the day's testimony. He's a cost by reporters who want to know what he thinks of silver's guilty verdict. He doesn't want to contemplate it. Instead, he points hopefully to former Senate majority leader Joe Bruno who beat the rap. He says Joe Bruno was a good friend of mine too. He was acquitted. But deep down scallops is worried about the outcome of his trial about his son's future. And it doesn't look good on the third day of testimony. The jury hears the wiretap conversations between dean skeletal and his son. The calls are damning an inside look into the machinations of the senators mind as he complained about Cuomo and schemed about ways to divide the Democrats, but that's small beans compared to the recorded calls that show Skela using his influence to benefit Adam the next day Charles deroga- from Glenwood testifies skeletal badgered him to find a job for his son. Then went to Reagan got him the job at app TEK, Adam conspired with Durango to remove AB Tech's CEO Glenn rink from the board and replace him with Adam himself, even though Adam was caught on tape saying, I literally no nothing about water or any of that stuff. Glenn rink gets on the stand to and talks. About the E mail. He got from Durango saying Adam wasn't paid more money. They're twelve million dollar storm water treatment contract with the state might go south. He likened it to a death threat, certainly death threat to his business in the coming days. It goes from bad to worse on day eleven Anthony bonobo testifies. But no MO is the CEO of a medical malpractice firm and Adams boss at his third no-show job. He tells the court he was a framed to fire at them. Even though you had good reasons to want him gone one. They were paying him seventy eight thousand dollars a year, and he hardly ever showed up to when Adams immediate supervisor told him he needed to come to work at least every once in a while Adam threatened to smash in his head saying that guys like him couldn't shine my shoes, but still, but no kept atom on the payroll fearing, he'd lose access to Scelo or worse that the Senator would retaliate for Nomo seventy. Eight grand a year was just the price of doing business in Albany. Nearly two weeks after the trial began the government resits case in closing arguments. The prosecutor reminds the jury of everything they've heard testimony from twenty witnesses and recorded conversations between a father and son that add up to a single conclusion dean Scala's us one of the most powerful political offices in the state to fund his sons lifestyle, and what he did was extortion. The defense argues that the prosecution has presented little in the way of real evidence. Other than the lies of a couple of serving witnesses the also contend that whatever dean scale is did to help us son. Find employment was never attached to any quid pro quo deal. He was merely a loving father trying to provide for his son as any father would it takes the jury two days, but they reach a unanimous verdict. Both dean and Adams Gallos are guilty of all six charges while Jeff yet another politician is now a convert. Acted felon in that wants three men in a room while that's dwindling down to only one tonight, this after state Senate majority leader dean scallops is found guilty of corruption charges during a federal trial. He was found guilty by a federal jury New Yorkers are happy to see their states corrupt politicians finally being held accountable less happy or Sheldon, silver and dean and Adam Skele's who now awaits sentencing for their crimes. On may third two thousand sixteen Sheldon silver is sentenced to twelve years in federal prison. He is also ordered to pay a fine of nearly two million dollars and return another five point three million dollars in ill-gotten gains, six months later on December eleventh just in time for Christmas. Dean Scelo is given a five hundred thousand dollar fine and a five year sentence. But Adam gets a little something extra in his stocking. When the judge gives him six and a half years and Adam and his father must forfeit three hundred thousand dollars the salary from Adams no-show jobs, but this story has one more brief reversal of fortune as winter gives way to spring and then summer in two thousand sixteen Sheldon, silver and dean and Adam scales. Get the biggest break of their lives. Just one month after Sheldon, silver, sentenced, the US court hands down a ruling that narrows the definition of federal public corruption as a result. The US district court of appeals overturns the convictions of all three men looks like the three convicted felons will go free technicality, silver and skills can't wait to gloat in the press praising the wisdom of court and thanking their attorneys for proving their innocence. The dark cloud of despair has lifted the blue skies don't last very long pre Pera immediately announces that his office will retry all three men and he's confident that he'll get convictions again by the time so retrial rolls around in may of two thousand eighteen pre Berrara is no longer the US attorney for the southern district. A March eleventh two thousand seventeen President Donald Trump fires Brar along with forty five. Other. Federal prosecutors appointed by the Obama administration after he refuses to resign. But the southern district is not an entity. That depends on only one man they press forward on may eighteenth too. Thousand eighteen after a two week long trial. The jury files back into the courtroom with their verdict shell and silver. Now, seventy four years old is found guilty on all seven counts. Again, the judge allow silver to remain free on bond until sentencing silver, later writes, a letter to the judge begging for mercy saying he sorry claiming that his already lost everything he's been punished enough. And he's a frayed of dying and jail. What are you currently doesn't do though is it mitt any crimes at the sentencing hearing, silvers attorney suggests probation and community service. A nice hail Mary, but unsuccessful judge Valerie Caproni, call silvers crimes a case of unmitigated greed, and then hands down a sentence of seven years but silver won't yet. See the inside of a so a federal court decide silver can remain free on bail until his attorneys appeal. They have until December third two thousand eighteen if the core. Takes up his appeal silver might against lip free. What if they don't silver will finally have to surrender and serve his time. Dean and Adam skeleton don't fare any better in their retrials, both are found guilty of all the original corruption charges Scalise begs for leniency, and the judge granted sort of on October twenty fourth two thousand eighteen the seventy year old dean Scelo sentenced to four years and three months in prison nine months less than his first ones when handing down her sentence. The judge tells him you did immeasurable damage to New York citizens confidence in the integrity of their government. His son Adam does not come to court to see his father. It's reported that the relationship is strained Scelo. Looking sad and tired claims remorse, especially for the harm. He caused his family. He says to the judge. I apologize with all my soul your honor. And then with his voice cracking. He asked for mercy for his son my son, Adam I love him more today than yesterday. I always tried to protect him and I failed. Although our relationship is strained help. One day. It will be restored. Skeletal remains free on bail as his lawyers get to work appealing the second conviction. If it's denied skeletal will have to surrender on January eighth two thousand nineteen in a separate hearing later that afternoon, Adam skills also asks for leniency citing progress in his battle with substance abuse. He tells the judge that he and his new fion- say are expecting a baby. He also says he's truly remorseful. The judge appears to believe him. She sentences him to four years a two year reduction from the previous judgment both dean and his son are free on bail, pending appeal. When asked about his father, Adam tells reporters, we don't talk anymore. That's a loss. I thought I would only experience death. On the heels of the scale of sentencing, a familiar refrain echoes through the halls of Albany, senators chastise skills, calling his actions and abuse of public. Trust lawmakers feverishly promised to root out corruption protect taxpayer money, improve state laws. One Senator takes the opportunity to make a bold. If very familiar statement improvements must immediately be made to state law to strengthen our corruption laws and to empower local prosecutors to go after thirty politicians the time for reform in New York state was yesterday since two thousand six more elected officials have been convicted of corruption in the state of New York than any other state in two thousand eighteen alone. Seven legislators have been convicted of crimes, no significant ethics reform balls have been fast. Andrew Cuomo still the governor and it still businesses usually in Oldman. From wondering this is American scan next week. I'll be talking to filmmaker Alex Gibney about his documentary client nine detailing the rise and fall of Elliott Smith, sir. Alex got the first extensive interviews Spitzer after his resignation the fascinating conversation, and you won't want to miss it. If you enjoy this episode subscribe now on apple podcasts. Spotify Google punk ass wondering dot com or wherever you're listening to this right now, if you're listening on a smartphone, tap or swipe over the cover art this podcast, you'll find the episodes. You'll also find some offers from our sponsors, please support this show by supporting them. If you want to read more details about the trials of Sheldon, silver and teen scales. The New York Times published a time line of highlights you can find the link to that article in our show notes and just a quick note about reenactments most cases, we can't know what was actually. But everything in our show is based on historical research American scandals hosted edited sound design and executive produced by me Lindsey Graham for airship additional production assistance by Derek Barron's. This episode is written by Michael burn in a lane Appleton grant, our consultant is longtime Albany journalists. Jay Jaakko, it's executive producers are Stephanie jen's Marshall, Loui and Hernando peasant for one.