Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos in a statement Tuesday said he was “saddened” by the news that his deputy leader in the conference was indicted on making a false statement to the FBI.

But at the same time, Skelos indicated that he was standing by the Binghamton Republican, saying that he hopes the legal system fairly handles the case.

“I am saddened to learn of the news regarding Senator Libous,” said Skelos, a Nassau County Republican. “I have always known Tom Libous to be a hardworking and outstanding representative for his district and all of New York State. I have confidence that our legal system will fully and fairly review this matter.”

The indictment of Libous is likely to send shock waves through the state Senate, which is already embroiled in a complicated leadership battle as the five-member Independent Democratic Conference has announced it will end its coalition with the Republican conference after this year’s elections.

Democratic Sen. John Sampson, a former leader, was booted by mainline Democrats after he was indicted last year on charges he siphoned funds from an escrow account he controlled. The IDC similarly kicked Sen. Malcolm Smith out its conference when he was charged in a bribery scheme to purchase a Wilson-Pakula waiver to run for New York City mayor as a Republican.