NY lawmaker who lied to FBI gets house arrest after cancer diagnosis

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 24, 2015 4:05 PM

By Nate Raymond and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A once-powerful New York state senator convicted for lying to FBI agents in a public corruption investigation, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, was sentenced on Tuesday to six months of house arrest.

Thomas Libous, a Republican from Binghamton who was one of the highest-ranking state senators, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti in White Plains, New York. The sentence also imposed a $50,000 fine and ordered two years of supervised release.

Jurors in July found Libous, 62, guilty of one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case arose from a 2010 probe into whether Libous, then chairman of the Senate's Transportation Committee, arranged for his son Matthew to obtain a job at a law firm specializing in transportation issues in exchange for promising to steer business to the firm.

Prosecutors said the probe also concerned whether the lawmaker arranged for a lobbying firm to secretly pay the law firm $50,000 a year to defray the cost of his son's salary and the lease of a Range Rover.

According to the indictment, Libous falsely told FBI agents he did not know how his son got the job, and never promised to refer business to the law firm.

The judge said he would have sentenced Libous to six months in prison but for his health, according to a statement from Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney from the Southern District of New York.

A lawyer for Libous did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Matthew Libous, who was charged separately with failing to report income, was convicted in a non-jury trial and sentenced in May to six months in prison.

Thomas Libous is one of many Albany lawmakers ensnared in recent years in a string of prosecutions and ethics scandals.

Bharara this year brought corruption charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as well as former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Jurors on Tuesday were deliberating in the Silver case, while the trial of Skelos and his son Adam is expected to last several more weeks.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)