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      Now acquitted, former state senator Joe Bruno wants state to pick up the legal tab

      Joe Bruno

      The former leader of New York's Senate, acquitted of federal fraud charges last week, plans to ask the state to pay his legal bills.

      Retired Sen. Joe Bruno says two trials and appeals cost him more than $4 million. He had been charged with taking bribes to direct state grants to a businessman.

      State law authorizes reimbursement of "reasonable" attorneys' fees for officials accused of criminal wrongdoing while acting within the scope of their duties.

      The 85-year-old Bruno tells Albany radio station WGDJ-AM that overly zealous federal prosecutors cost him six years of his life and they probably spent $25 million to $30 million.

      The businessman testified he hired Bruno as a consultant and that the payments weren't bribes.

      Bruno, a Rensselaer County Republican, led the Senate majority for 14 years before stepping down in 2008.