Joe Bruno: Thug or Mensch?


That was the debate on the final day of former New York State Senate leader Joe Bruno's corruption trial yesterday. Prosecutors portrayed Bruno as a tough-guy who used his position in the State Senate to benefit the clients he kept as a part-time lawyer. Prosecutors also said he took steps to hide the conflicts between his private business activities and his public duties. Then William Pericak, one of two U.S. attorneys prosecuting the case, started talking about Bruno and calling him "Tiny," for some reason:

“Some people give their lunch money to Tiny. Some people fight for it. Some people run away. He’s the weight of Albany. That’s what he’s there for," Pericak said.

The defense told a different story, about a man who worked hard as a part-time legislator and followed the rules as best as he understood them. But their version of Bruno was also named "Tiny":

"Tiny was in the playground,” Lowell said. “But Tiny wasn’t alone. The principal was there. The teachers were there. The hall monitor was there. The school superintendent was there.”

The creative writing teacher was clearly also there.

In Closing Arguments, Bruno as Bully or Honest Worker