A jury of his peers has found former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty of corruptly abusing his office — again. Let’s hope it sticks this time.
It took less than 24 hours for the jurors to reach guilty verdicts on all seven counts of trading legislative favors for legal referral fees — via cutouts such as an asbestos doctor and various law firms.
Of course, Silver was first convicted in this case back in 2015, but a later US Supreme Court ruling led to the tossing of those verdicts and (eventually) this retrial.
He drew 12 years’ hard time then, and should get much the same come his new sentencing on July 13. Since he’s 74, there seems little need to push for the maximum 130 years that he could face — though it might send a good message to his former colleagues up in Albany.
Silver cleared at least $4 million from the two schemes outlined at trial, one involving real-estate firms that wanted favorable tax treatment and the other centering on a doctor who got half a million in state grants. Jurors clearly had no trouble seeing through his use of middlemen — his own law firm and an outside one — to disguise the bribes as fees for legal referrals.
Coming soon: the retrial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, whose conviction for entirely separate corruption was overturned on the same technicality.
Silver and Skelos long reigned as part of the “three men in a room” who settle the fate of all state legislation. It’d be entirely fitting if they spent the rest of their days as “two men in a cell.”
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