Shapiro Arato Wins Bail for Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Pending Appeal in Public Corruption Case

On August 4, 2016, the Honorable Kimba M. Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted our motion to continue bail for our client, former New York State Senator Dean Skelos, pending his appeal of his conviction on federal corruption charges. Judge Wood held that Senator Skelos’ appeal raises a “substantial question” whether the Court’s jury instructions were erroneous in light of the United States Supreme Court’s recent unanimous decision in McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016), which narrowly construed what acts constitute “official acts” under the public corruption statutes. McDonnell held, for example, that merely “setting up a meeting” and “talking to another official”—conduct that was at the center of the government’s case against Senator Skelos—does not qualify as an “official act,” and thus cannot serve as the basis for a public corruption conviction.

Partner Alexandra Shapiro co-authored the bail briefs, which can be found here and here. More coverage of the ruling can be found here and here.