After almost a year of near-freedom following the repeal of his fraud conviction, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted a second time Friday on all counts of bribery and corruption.
The Second Court of Appeals overturned Silvers 2015 conviction when the Supreme Court clarified the meaning of “official acts” as it applies to extortion and fraud prosecutions in the McDonnell v. U.S. decision in 2016.
The Second Court unanimously found the jury in Silvers 2015 trial did not receive appropriate instruction to define official actions, but noted in vacating the decision that there was probably still enough evidence to convict Silver. (RELATED: Sheldon Silver Gets Shot At Freedom After Appeals Court Vacates Convictions)
The jury in Silvers latest retrial found the Manhattan politician was guilty of using his office to earn $4 million in private gain with two corruption schemes. It took the panel less than a full day to reach a conclusion in the deliberations.
“Sheldon Silver … took an oath to act in the best interests of the people of New York State,” prosecuting U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. “As a unanimous jury found, he sold his public office for private greed.”
Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison after his first trial before the Supreme Courts redefinition gave him a reprieve. Now, his chances at freedom look even slimmer but he still holds hope for exoneration.
“I feel disappointed at this point,” Silver said outside the courthouse after the jurys decision Friday. “I am very confident the judicial process will play out in my favor.”
Silvers scheme involved funneling State Health Department grants totaling $500,000 to Robert N. Taub, who ran a mesothelioma research clinic. Over about a decade, Taub referred nearly 50 cancer patients with potential legal claims to Weitz & Luxenberg, a law firm, which in turn paid Silver a portion of the fees.
“The justice system shows no one is above the law,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement following the conviction.
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