ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno was charged Friday with taking payoffs from businesses in return for state contracts.
An eight-count indictment handed up Friday said Bruno received at least $3 million in illegal payoffs between 1993 and 2006, the New York Daily News reported.
Bruno, a Republican, represented the 41st district near Albany from 1977 to his retirement in July. He was first elected majority leader in 1995.
After entering a not guilty plea in federal court in Albany, Bruno told reporters he is the victim of a "get Joe Bruno" campaign, suggesting that former Gov. Eliot Spitzer might have been involved. Reminding reporters that he had been a boxer, Bruno said he would fight and win.
"This is a three-year fishing expedition that smells really really bad and it really stinks, in plain English," Bruno said.
The federal investigation, which ranged over Bruno's business interests and political actions, became public in 2006.