Prosecutors in Albany obtained a new indictment in May 2012, accusing Mr. Bruno of taking $440,000 in bribes and kickbacks disguised as $360,000 in consulting fees, and $80,000 for a worthless racehorse. The indictment said the payments had been made by Mr. Abbruzzese in return for legislative favors and for Mr. Bruno’s influence in directing large sums of public money to organizations connected to Mr. Abbruzzese.
Mr. Bruno pleaded not guilty and was released in his own recognizance. His lawyers contended that a new trial would constitute double jeopardy, but the Second Circuit appeals court rejected that claim in August 2013, clearing the way for a new trial.
In May 2014, a federal court in Albany found him not guilty of fraud charges, ending a legal battle nearly a decade in the making. “This system, it works; sometimes it’s slow, but it works,” Mr. Bruno said on the courthouse steps. “It is over.”
Joseph Louis Bruno was born on April 8, 1929, in Glens Falls, one of eight children of Vitaliano and Catherine (Ricciardelli) Bruno. His father was an Italian immigrant laborer who never learned to read English. His mother died when Joe was 17. Home was a cold-water flat where ice formed inside windows. He worked many jobs and graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Glens Falls and in 1952 from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.
In 1951, he married Barbara Frasier. The couple had four children, who survive him: Joseph, Susan, Kenneth and Catherine. Mrs. Bruno died in 2008.
Mr. Bruno is also survived by Kay Thompson, his longtime partner; five siblings, Florence, Arthur, Anthony, Robert and Vito Bruno; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Drafted in 1952, he became an infantry sergeant in Korea and won the light-heavyweight boxing title of the 35th Regiment. He returned to Glens Falls in 1954 and sold frozen foods. In 1959, after federal courts broke up Bell Telephone’s monopoly, he and a partner founded Coradian Corporation, a communications equipment company. It was sold in 1990 for $23 million.