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Skelos Stays On As State Senate Leader Amid Corruption Charges

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos has held onto power following corruption charges, even as some fellow Republicans have said he should step down as leader to avoid a political distraction.

Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) told reporters Tuesday that he is innocent and that the 43-page criminal complaint against him is ``nothing more than a press release.''

Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam Skelos, 32, surrendered at the FBI's offices in lower Manhattan Monday as the as a criminal complaint was unsealed against them in U.S. District Court. Prosecutors alleged that the elder Skelos traded his influence for payments from a real estate firm and environmental technology company that went to his son, Adam Skelos.

WEB EXTRA: Read The Full Complaint (pdf)

Senate Republicans are keeping Skelos as their leader so far, but support may be wavering. Sen. John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope) said Skelos should step aside so the Legislature can focus on its work.

Authorities said Dean Skelos has used his position as a carrot since at least 2010, taking official actions in return for payments to his son.

According to court papers, some evidence was obtained through court-authorized wiretaps on cellphones used by the father and son.

The complaint said Dean Skelos bragged to his son recently in one conversation after he was re-elected majority leader in January, a post he shared with another senator from 2011 to 2013: "I'm going to be president of the Senate. I'm going to be majority leader. I'm going to control everything.''

The complaint said Dean Skelos monetized his position by extorting money from others, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from a senior executive of a major real estate development firm who was cooperating with the government.

Dean Skelos promoted and voted for real estate legislation sought by the developer, including some pertaining to rent regulation and property tax abatements, the complaint said.

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