Ex-New York Assem­bly Speaker Sil­ver found guilty in sec­ond cor­rup­tion trial

Metro USA (New York) - - News -

For­mer New York Assem­bly Speaker Shel­don Sil­ver was found guilty of cor­rup­tion charges on Fri­day by a jury in Man­hat­tan fed­eral court af­ter an ap­peals court threw out an ear­lier con­vic­tion.

Sil­ver, 74, was charged with di­rect­ing state money to a prom­i­nent can­cer re­searcher and sup­port­ing a real es­tate developer’s in­ter­ests on rent leg­is­la­tion in ex­change for about $4 mil­lion in bribes and kick­backs.

Sil­ver was found guilty of all seven counts against him, in­clud­ing hon­est ser­vices fraud and ex­tor­tion. The jury handed down its ver­dict at the end of its first full day of de­lib­er­a­tions.

U.S. At­tor­ney Geoffrey Ber­man in Man­hat­tan said in a state­ment that Sil­ver “took an oath to act in the best in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of New York State.”

“As a unan­i­mous jury found, he sold his pub­lic of­fice for pri­vate greed,” Ber­man said.

A lawyer for Sil­ver could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

Sil­ver was con­victed for the first time in Novem­ber 2015. In May 2016, Caproni sen­tenced him to 12 years in prison.

Last July, how­ever, a New York fed­eral ap­peals court threw out the con­vic­tion. The court ruled that the jury had re­ceived im­proper in­struc­tions in light of the Supreme Court’s 2016 de­ci­sion over­turn­ing the cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion of for­mer Vir­ginia Gov. Bob McDon­nell.

The Supreme Court found in that de­ci­sion that rou­tine po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties such as ar­rang­ing meet­ings or reach­ing out to pub­lic of­fi­cials were not “of­fi­cial acts” that could be pros­e­cuted un­der fed­eral bribery law.

Sil­ver, a Demo­crat, rep­re­sented Man­hat­tan’s Lower East Side, and was Assem­bly speaker from 1994 to 2015.

Along with Gov. An­drew Cuomo and for­mer Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Dean Ske­los, he was one of the few peo­ple with ef­fec­tive power to dic­tate New York leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties.

Ske­los was con­victed of cor­rup­tion charges in De­cem­ber 2015 and sen­tenced to five years in prison. His con­vic­tion was over­turned last year as well, for sim­i­lar rea­sons as Sil­ver’s, and pros­e­cu­tors have said they would try him again.

“As a unan­i­mous jury found, he sold his pub­lic of­fice for pri­vate greed.” U.S. At­tor­ney Geoffrey Ber­man

GETTY IM­AGES

Shel­don Sil­ver was found guilty on Fri­day of seven counts against him, in­clud­ing hon­est ser­vices fraud and ex­tor­tion.

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