February 26, 2020

Sheldon Silver found guilty on all counts in corruption trial

Former Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver was found guilty on all counts by a jury on Monday.

Silver, 71, faced seven counts, including mail and wire fraud, extortion and money laundering after his arrest earlier this year. He was accused of using his position at a law firm to conceal more than $3 million he earned from referring asbestos cases to the firm from a doctor who received undisclosed state grant money. Separately, Silver took in $700,000 from steering real estate developers with business before the legislature to another law firm, prosecutors said. He was also accused of putting most of that money into an investment vehicle and then taking official actions to benefit the investor who provided him access.

The verdict came in the fifth week of the trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan. He was convicted on all counts.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the chief prosecutor in the case, said in a short statement, “Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.”

Before his resignation, Silver claimed the title of the 2nd longest-serving Democratic Speaker in the history of the state and became the most powerful politician in the state. He was denied the title of the longest-tenured speaker after resigning in January. Silver was first elected as interim speaker on January 25, 1994, at the age of 49, replacing Saul Weprin, who suffered a severe stroke a week earlier, and officially became the speaker on Feb. 11, 1994, after the sudden death of Weprin.