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Bruno alleges FBI harassment in lead up to trial

Embattled former state Sen. Joseph Bruno is alleging that the FBI has intimidated and harassed his family and coworkers in the lead up to his trial, tentatively set for November.

In a July 21 letter sent to the U.S. Attorney's office, attorney Abbe David Lowell, who is representing Bruno, outlined ways in which subpoenas have been served that offend the longtime statesman.

The letter details the manner in which subpoenas were served to Bruno's daughter and Kris Thompson, who works at Bruno's CMA Consulting Services firm. Lowell asserts that FBI agents visited Thompson the day after he appeared in a New York Daily News article speaking out in Bruno's defense, and that he was embarrassed to be served at his place of employment.

Lowell argued that Bruno's daughter, Catherine Bruno-Hines, has no information pertaining to the investigation against her father.

"There is no good reason for the government to serve subpoenas in this time and manner," the letter reads. "After spending nearly four years investigating Mr. Bruno, it is quite remarkable that the government feels so compelled to visit these particular people at this particular time in the manner that they did."

Subpoenas are generally served to require people to turn over documents or appear to testify in court. Lowell argued that with the trial still four months out, serving subpoenas is unnecessary.

It is unclear who else has received a subpoena.

Lowell's letter was distributed through the www.justiceforjoebruno.com Web site, which was formed by his supporters. Those well wishers include several prominent area lawyers.

Bruno was indicted in January on 8 counts that charge him with denying his constituents their right to honest service. Prosecutors say that Bruno, using his power and influence as Senate majority leader, took in $3.2 million in "consulting fees" between 1993 and 2006. He allegedly guided business from unions towards certain companies in exchange for the fees.

Bruno's defense team has argued that the charges originate in a law that is vaguely worded and have questioned its constitutionality. They've also asked for the case to be put on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews law in an unrelated case.

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