Sheldon Silver’s Bid to Dismiss Charges Rejected; Path Cleared for Retrial
On Tuesday, March 20, former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s bid to dismiss his indictment on corruption charges was rejected by a federal judge. The path is now cleared for Silver to be retried, since his earlier conviction was thrown out.
The arguments given by Silver for the dismissal or narrowing of his indictment “run counter to the law,” said U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan. She also said that there was no basis for a limit to be set on the sum he may be required to forfeit.
Silver’s conviction and 12-year prison sentence from November 2015 was overturned last July in Manhattan federal appeals court, and he was set free on bail. The grounds for overturning his conviction cited that jurors must be instructed by the trial judge in a manner that conforms to a recent decision by the Supreme Court in which the public corruption conviction of Virginia Republican former-Governor Bob McDonnell was reversed. The definition of what an “official act” by a politician constitutes was narrowed by the high court ruling, which now makes it harder for convictions to be obtained by prosecutors in many public corruption cases. However, it also said that sufficient evidence was provided by prosecutors to prove money laundering, extortion and honest services fraud, all counts of which Silver had been convicted of.
In August, a formal letter by the government requested that a Manhattan judge set a retrial for this coming March, April or May, citing that a fast retrial would be in the best interest of the public.
As previously reported by The Jewish Voice, close to $5 million was received by Silver in bribes and kickbacks from real estate developers and a cancer researcher in exchange for Silver using his position power in their favor, prosecutors allege. The funds were then laundered in private investment vehicles. According to prosecutors, he accumulated over $2 million in assets and set himself up an annual state pension of $70,000.
The lawyers representing Silver argued that it may be concluded by the Supreme Court that as a matter of law, Silver should not have to go through a retrial. Prosecutors strongly disagreed and claimed that this is merely a “delay tactic” by the defense which will likely fail. In court papers, prosecutors said, “Silver’s retrial is inevitable, regardless of the outcome of any one of his claims in the Supreme Court.”
“Silver’s retrial is inevitable, regardless of the outcome of any one of his claims in the Supreme Court.”
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will soon be facing a retrial, since his bid to dismiss his indictment was rejected last week.