A jury has found state Sen. Thomas Libous guilty of lying to FBI agents. Libous, 62, was first elected in 1988. He represented an area including the city of Binghamton, but has lost power now that he's a convicted felon. His sentencing is set for Oct. 30th, when he will face up to five years in prison.
"Libous’s lies have been exposed, his crime has been proven, and Albany will be the better for it," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Libous has prostate cancer that he says is terminal. His downfall, like that of former Senate majority leader Dean Skelos after him, was his bumbling, boorish son, for whom he secured a job at a Westchester law office in exchange for illicitly steering business there in his capacity as an elected official. The arrangement began toward the end of 2005, when Matthew Libous came on at Santangelo, Randazzo & Mangone with the understanding the firm would get "enough work to build a new wing on our property," according to testimony by then-partner Anthony Magone, since disbarred. Libous also had a lobbying firm, Ostroff, Hiffa & Associates, pay part of young Matthew's salary.
The New York Times explains that the job didn't go all that smoothly, despite the arrangements.
In one episode recounted at the trial, Matthew Libous was said to have gotten drunk at a holiday party for the law firm and propositioned the wife of a partner, jeopardizing the arrangement. Mr. Libous apologized on his son’s behalf, keeping the deal intact.
"The younger Libous also angered honchos at the firm...by leasing a pricey Land Rover on the company dime, prosecutors charged," according to the Daily News.
Despite all this information, and Magone's acknowledgment of the scheme, the feds seem to have had difficulty building a corruption case, and instead hit the elder Libous with the classic lying to a federal agent charge, which carries as many as five years in prison. When FBI agents stopped by his office in 2010, he said he didn't remember how his son got the law job, that no deals were made to secure it, and that the lobbyists didn't pay part of Matthew Libous's salary. Prosecutors made the case that that was poppycock, and after six hours of deliberation, a jury agreed.
Matthew Libous was separately convicted of tax fraud charges in January and sentenced to six months in prison. A judge let him remain free pending the outcome of his father's trial.