By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges the politician pressured companies doing business with the state to give his son hundreds of thousands of dollars in jobs and commissions.
Skelos, a 67-year-old Republican, and his 32-year-old son, Adam, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday, nearly a month after prosecutors unveiled charges against the Long Island residents.
Lawyers for the two men entered the not guilty pleas at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. The judge set a July 30 hearing to discuss when a trial could be scheduled.
The case is the latest in a series of corruption prosecutions targeting members of the state legislature in Albany. The former New York State Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was charged in January with taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.
Both cases are being pursued by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, who has criticized Albany for being "one of the most corrupt governments in the nation."
Prosecutors said that from 2010 to 2015, Dean Skelos pressured several companies that had business before the state to provide commission sales work or employment to Adam Skelos, who earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.
Prosecutors said Dean Skelos pressured a real estate developer and an environmental technology company to pay his son more than $200,000 in exchange for his support on infrastructure and legislation.
Adam Skelos also earned title insurance commissions from real estate developers with legislative business and over $100,000 through a no-show job from a medical malpractice insurer that was actively lobbying his father, according to the indictment.
Both men face six charges, including extortion under color of official right, soliciting bribes and gratuities and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.
After being initially charged based on a complaint in May, Dean Skelos resigned from his leadership post. He continues to retain the Long Island Senate seat he has held for 30 years.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)