NY Senate leader's arrest throws Senate, session into disarray; 2nd leader charged this year

ALBANY, N.Y. – For the second time this year, criminal charges against a top New York lawmaker have thrown one of America’s most powerful state capitals into turmoil.

Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos (SKEH’-lohs) of Long Island was charged Monday with using his influence to extort payments for his son Adam Skelos, who also is charged in the case. Both say they are innocent.

The charges come four months after Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver resigned his leadership post to fight charges that he accepted nearly $4 million in payoffs.

Members of the Senate’s Republican majority huddled behind closed doors late Monday before announcing that Skelos would remain their leader as he fights the charges.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH’-ruh) says the charges show that public corruption remains a chronic problem in the state.