Sheldon Silver Found Guilty of Corruption—Again
Sheldon Silver was convicted last Friday of corruption charges for the second time by a federal jury in Manhattan.
The guilty verdict ended a three-year-long legal saga that began with his first federal corruption trial and conviction in November 2015, which shook up state legislators who had grown accustomed to Albany’s culture of favor-trading and influence-peddling. Then a judge sentenced Silver to 12 years in prison in May 2016. That conviction was overturned a year later because of a Supreme Court case involving Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who got off scot-free in his own corruption case because of the ruling from the nation’s highest court.
Then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and his team of federal prosecutors built their original case against Silver on the basis that he had received $4 million in kickbacks from two law firms connected with a cancer researcher and two developers for whom Silver did legislative favors. During the two-week-long retrial, a new team of prosecutors demonstrated that Silver had performed official acts—which was what was required by the new standard set by McDonnell—in exchange for cash.
The first scheme involved Silver arranging state grants for mesothelioma doctor Robert Taub, who sent cancer patients with asbestos cases to law firm Weitz & Luxenberg. The firm gave Silver $3 million in referral fees. The second scheme involved Glenwood Management and Witkoff Group sending tax business to a law firm that also gave Silver referral fees.
Silver will be sentenced on July 13.
“I’m very confident the judicial process will play out in my favor,” Silver told reporters as he exited the courthouse, according to The New York Times. The paper noted that he’s optimistic about his chances of winning on appeal.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, “As a unanimous jury found, he sold his public office for private greed.”