Tale of Two Shellys: Opening Remarks in Silver Case Paint Different Pictures of Ex-Speaker

Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver arrives for his trial on Nov. 3, 2015 in New York City (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver arrives for his trial on Nov. 3, 2015 in New York City (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).


Did former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sell his office in exchange for kickbacks and bribes, or simply make legitimate outside income that prosecutors just don’t like?

Those were the two narratives presented to jurors today in the Manhattan federal courthouse where Mr. Silver, still an assemblyman and once among the three most powerful men in the state, is standing trial on charges of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering for allegedly taking more than $4 million in bribes and kickbacks.

“Power. Greed. Corruption,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen began her opening statement today. “This is a case about a powerful politician who betrayed those he was supposed to serve to line his pockets.”

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