Broome County reacts to Senator Libous' federal indictment

By Kelly McCarthy

July 1, 2014 Updated Jul 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New York State Senator Tom Libous has been indicted on a federal charge of lying to the FBI. His constituents and political colleagues react to the news.

Tom Libous has had an office in the State Building in Binghamton since 1989 when he was first elected as a New York State Senator for the 52nd District. That district covers Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Delaware counties.

The federal indictment began around March 2010. In June of that year Special FBI agents interviewed Libous about his son's job at a Westchester County law firm.

The indictment says Libous made several false statements in that interview. He said no deals were made to get his son a job, he never promised to refer work to the law firm and he was not aware a lobbying firm paid a part of his son's salary at the law firm, among other things. The FBI argues those statements are all false.

In March of 2012, Libous publicly denied any claims made in the downstate federal corruption trial. The trial mentioned Libous used his political influence to get his son a job at a Westchester County law firm..

He told Action News, "At no time did I talk to the firm about negotiating my son's salary. That did not take place that absolutely did not take place. At no time did I ask them to hire my son."

The Chairman of the Broome County Democrats said he wasn't completely shocked by the news, and said it opens up an opportunity for a potential democratic candidate in the upcoming election.

"What this has done was create interest where interest hasn't existed," Jim Testani said, "I mean I spent several months looking for a candidate for this seat, gave up frankly, and now I've had three people ask me today if there was a possibility of running."

Some of Libous's constituents comment on their political representative being federally indicted.

"Thomas Libous has been in the system for a long time, he knows the ropes, is he a bad person? I don't think so," said Douglas Setzer of Binghamton, "Can anybody be a little crooked? Yeah. Can anybody do things to help their son or whatever? Sure."

"It's time for someone to get caught lying," said Dajen Edwards of Lisle, "I mean especially a politician, or governor or anything like that."

"Well, I think that he should be the responsible person, especially since he's a public official," said Marlene Vymislicky of Endicott. "He should do what's right."

Senator Libous was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and still gets Chemotherapy treatments every 21 days. Libous said he would fight to keep his seat in the State Senate.

Currently Libous is the only candidate who announced he is running for the upcoming election.

But, there are still nine days left before signatures and petitions are due to the Board of Elections.

A statement from Republican and Broome County Executive Debbie Preston was released shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

It reads, "I've had the pleasure of working with Senator Libous for many years and he's done a lot of great things for our area. I don't know anything about these charges and will not rush to judgment until it all plays out in the court system. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty."

Binghamton Mayor Rich David (R) released a statement Wednesday morning which encourages the public to hold off on judgement.

“For more than 20 years, Senator Libous has made the Southern Tier a priority and delivered results,” said David. “You’re innocent until proven guilty and I’m encouraged to see he’s fighting this charge. We should all reserve judgment until the legal process runs its course.”

A statement by Broome County Republican Chairman Bijoy Datta reads, "Senator Libous will fight these charges with the same vigor with which he's fought cancer and he's fought for his district over his entire career. No one has done more for our community over the last few decades. I'm glad he's running for re-election to continue fighting for us."