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Bruno pleads not guilty to new fraud charges

ALBANY (AP) -- The former majority leader of New York's Senate faces new federal fraud charges after his earlier convictions were overturned last year.

Former Sen. Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Albany to two counts of honest services fraud. He was released without bail.

Federal prosecutors had promised to pursue a new indictment after an appeals court last year rejected convictions of Bruno, now 83. That followed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case that such convictions must show direct bribes or kickbacks.

Bruno, 83, was convicted at trial in 2009 under a general theory he used his influence to make money in his sideline consulting business, depriving taxpayers of his honest services.

"We consider this to be a gross miscarriage of justice," defense attorney William Dreyer said. "It's absurd. It's a waste of taxpayer money."

The defense will request dismissal of the charges, and failing that will go to trial again, defense attorney E. Stewart Jones said.


Cuomo mulls options in bid to replace bridge

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that he is considering new ideas for paying to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge after the federal government initially rejected a $2 billion loan application because it doesn't have enough money at this time.

Partnerships with private companies that could provide financing based on fares are among the many possibilities, though Cuomo didn't disclose any new approaches. Cuomo downplayed rejection of the loan by the Obama administration on April 26. He said there will be future rounds of the competitive loans and New York will have a strong application for the next opportunity.

The $5.2 billion project would build two spans to replace an aging, overcrowded bridge across the Hudson River in New York City's northern suburbs.

The rejection was a stumble for Cuomo's plan to do a major project fast. The high-profile project is a top priority for Cuomo, who sees it as a symbol of his administration.

Cuomo has said inaction on the bridge was the result of the political "enemies of progress."


Motorist clocked going 170 mph

RAVENA (AP) -- Authorities said Thursday a man has been arrested after troopers clocked him driving his motorcycle at 170 mph on the New York State Thruway.

State police said a trooper first observed the motorcyclist going 166 mph Wednesday afternoon in the southbound lanes of Interstate 87 just south of Albany.

The trooper pursued the biker and was able to get the Suzuki motorcycle's license plate number and a description of the rider when he slowed down in traffic.

But the man sped off again, and other troopers clocked him going as fast as 170 mph. Troopers eventually stopped him in New Paltz.

Police charged Nikkolaus McCarthy, 25, of Charlton, with fleeing police, reckless driving, speeding and operating a motorcycle without a license.

He was being held in jail on $20,000 bail.