Libous pleads not guilty, says cancer is ‘terminal’

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WHITE PLAINS—Senate deputy Republican leader Tom Libous said Tuesday he is suffering from “terminal” cancer but vowed to run for re-election and clear his name of a federal charge that he lied to an F.B.I. agent who was investigating how his son was hired by a Westchester County law firm.

Libous, a 61-year-old Binghamton native who leads the G.O.P. conference on the chamber floor, pleaded not guilty to the charge and posted $50,000 bail. He has been in treatment for prostate cancer for five years, but said during a recent floor debate over legalizing medicinal marijuana that the cancer had metastasized to his back and lungs.

“For me to stay alive and come here for session, I have to have chemotherapy every 21 days,” he said Tuesday.

After appearing before Magistrate Lisa Margaret Smith at the federal courthouse in White Plains, Libous told reporters, “There is no cure for me, it's terminal.”

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Libous suggested the timing of the charge may have been related to the upcoming election, when Democrats are planning an unprecedented push to wrest the Senate from the hands of Republicans.

“My petitions are being circulated. I'm very proud of what I've done in the Southern Tier and I've got some things that I want to finish ... I'm sure that my constituents will pick up with your reporting today and I'm going to tell them to ... give me the trust and confidence that they've always given me," Libous said outside the courthouse. "And I would ask them not to make a decision until the final decision is in. I told them three years ago that I was innocent, I didn't commit a crime, and after reading this indictment I'll tell you again that I didn't commit a crime.

“I think that a lot of people that are in a situation like mine with a terminal disease go to work every day and I like to think that I give encouragement and give people a reason to get up and go to work and I'm not going to just sit home and wither away and I'm going to fight this cancer as I have, continue to get my treatments,” he said. “I'd like to think that I'm an example. There's millions of people all over the state that are sick, that have cancer, that have leukemia, and they go to work every day and they perform and that's what I intend to do.”

Libous said he loved his son, Matthew, who was charged with six felony counts including tax fraud and obstruction of justice. Matthew Libous has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

--additional reporting by Josefa Velasquez