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Former business partners testify on behalf of the prosecution

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Former business partners testify on behalf of the prosecution
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ALBANY. N.Y. -- Important testimony on day six of the Joe Bruno re-trial involved two former business partners.

The trial of the former State Senator revolves around what Bruno did, or didn't do, to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees.

Prosecutors say the money was a bribe, and there was little evidence presented Monday to explain otherwise.

Robert Brumley and Chris Downie, who ran companies Bruno allegedly consulted for, were on the stand Monday. Brumley and Downie both testified they had no idea why they were paying Bruno, or what work Bruno was doing for them.

The defense and other witnesses have said the only person responsible for Bruno was the big boss of those companies: Jared Abbruzzese. But even he testified last week that Bruno never completed much consulting work for more than $300,000 in compensation.

Monday's witnesses also offered more hints at why Abbruzzese may have ended the consulting relationship in 2005 having to do with the FBI investigation to his and Bruno's "true" relationship.

Bruno was warned repeatedly by his senate ethics lawyer, Frank Gluchowski, to make a hard record of his consulting work. But no record has been presented at trial.

What's more, Gluchowski said Bruno failed to disclose a conflict of interest. This, although Abbruzzese owned Evident Technologies, a company in the process of receiving grants from the state -- grants Bruno had approved.

The defense, in effect, also blamed Gluchowski for not doing enough homework, and leaving the senator vulnerable to a conflicted deal.

The former Senate ethics lawyer continues on the stand Tuesday.

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