Former State Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno was indicted on 8 counts yesterday for allegedly taking in $3.2 million in "consulting fees" that were actually payments from various parties who wanted the once powerful legislator's influence. Bruno, who spent 32 years in the State Senate, 13 of them as Majority Leader, said the FBI had conducted "a three-year fishing expedition that smells really, really bad and it really stinks," and vowed, "After being hounded for three years, I am being indicted on a prosecutor’s sleight of hand. I’ve been a fighter. And I don’t plan on changing now.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Baxter had fighting words himself, "Bruno improperly exploited his official position and concealed conflicts of interest." From the Times-Union:

The indictment outlines a series of deals and business arrangements dating back to 1993 in which Bruno made money from companies or individuals who had an interest in state government, or profited as a ''consultant'' for steering labor unions, which rely heavily on state government contracts, to invest in companies that were paying Bruno hundreds of thousands of dollars. The charges also delve into Bruno's penchant for race horses and several shadowy financial deals tied to the thoroughbred industry.

But it was Bruno's relationship with a Connecticut investment firm and his efforts to steer New York labor union leaders to invest their pension funds there that brought him the most private wealth, more than $2 million, according to the charges.

You can read the indictment here. One allegation is that Bruno's friend Jared Abbruzzese paid Bruno $80,000 for a "worthless" racehorse and, in return, Bruno directed $500,000 to a company in which Abbruzzese is a major investor.

The FBI's John Pikus also criticized the secretive nature of the State Legislature for slowing down the investigation, noting, "There are factors involved in which bills are passed, member items are approved, which never see the light of day. Many of you in the public have tried to get into that arena to see exactly where your money is going. And that, really, from our standpoint, from the F.B.I.'s standpoint, was the problem. We can subpoena. We can provide opportunities for individuals to come in and talk to us, but the legislative process was almost Byzantine."

Bruno, who is 79, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.