Joe Bruno 'very happy' for Sheldon Silver

ALBANY, N.Y. -- When Sheldon Silver's corruption conviction was tossed by a federal appeals court, there was one Albany veteran who knows exactly what the former Assembly speaker is going through: ex-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

"Of course, when something good happens for anybody, you feel good about it and I'm very happy for him and his family," said Bruno.

Bruno was convicted in 2009 of two counts of fraud. He appealed, based on a Supreme Court interpretation of the charges. The conviction was reversed. He was later retried and found not guilty in 2014.

"It is a horrible, horrible experience. In my life, from beginning to end, it was nine years. Nine years."

That's a circumstance Silver could face as well. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in a statement said Silver will likely be retried on fraud charges.

Bruno agreed with a statement by the prosecutor who tried his second case, Richard Hartunian, that Congress needs to clarify the public corruption law.

Bruno, since his acquittal, has become a critic of the power federal prosecutors wield, especially in white collar and public corruption cases.

"The federal prosecutors spend millions and millions of dollars, especially on white collar people, people in high office. There ought to be some equality here, some oversight."

Bruno says there should be alternatives to how those convicted of non-violent offenses should be punished.

"Let them help a charity. Let them be in public service. Let them earn their way."

He's also a staunch defender of those in public service. Even as voters may take a cynical view of politicians, Bruno says all deserve not just their day in court, but a fair process on an even playing field.

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