Prosecutors Explain How Dean Skelos Case Is Just Like This Shel Silverstein Poem

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Dean Skelos, Gail Skelos
Former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his wife, Gail, arrive at federal court on December 3.Photo: Mark Lennihan/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

The jury will start deliberating the fate of Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, on Thursday, after hearing closing statements from both sides. 

Given how strange and over the top much of the testimony in this trial was, the jurors were probably unfazed by the fact that the prosecutors ended their argument by quoting a Shel Silverstein poem. The poem is titled “Gorilla.” Here is its first stanza

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Since I brought my gorilla to school,

Everyone’s nicer to me.

The teacher’s more pleasant,

The kids bring me presents,

The principal serves me

Bran muffins and tea.

Several people in the courtroom laughed when prosecutor Jason Masimore connected the dots. “That’s kind of what it’s like here – the gorilla in this case is the power of the office of the Senate majority leader.” Skelos faces federal corruption charges for allegedly using his political power to help his son keep various high-paying jobs. Companies were forced to keep Adam employed, despite the fact that he hardly worked, the prosecutor argued, because they “didn’t want Senator Skelos to unleash his gorilla.”

Several people in the courtroom laughed when prosecutor Jason Masimore connected the dots. “That’s kind of what it’s like here – the gorilla in this case is the power of the office of the Senate majority leader.” Skelos faces federal corruption charges for allegedly using his political power to help his son keep various high-paying jobs. Companies were forced to keep Adam employed, despite the fact that he hardly worked, the prosecutor argued, because they “didn’t want Senator Skelos to unleash his gorilla.”

The Skelos family’s defense attorneys said in their closing statements that, regardless of how gross things may look, nothing criminal was going on — definitely nothing involving the words quid pro quo. It wasn’t Senator Skelos’s fault that companies wanted to hire his son to get close to him: “That’s why teachers get so many apples. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s how the world works.” And although the government showed off lots of "salacious stuff" that made Adam look "obnoxious" and was generally “brutal to listen to," the defense argued that it had "nothing to do with any of the charges here" and that "being an ungrateful person and a bad employee — that’s not a crime." Adam Skelos allegedly told one of his supervisors"Guys like you couldn’t shine my shoes. You’ll never amount to anything. If you talk to me like that again, I’ll smash your fucking head in."

There is absolutely nothing wrong,” Dean Skelos’s lawyer said, “for a father to be involved and concerned for his son. You can be a state senator and you can be a father.”

Masimore responded“Loving your son is not a defense for committing crimes. The argument itself is offensive.”

On Tuesday, Senator Skelos introduced himself to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the man responsible for the high-profile corruption cases against Sheldon Silver, who was convicted last month, and Skelos. “Let me introduce myself. I think we met at one of the funerals,” Skelos said. According to Newsday, Bharara shook his hand and said nothing.