Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty Friday of public corruption charges, dashing the 74-year-old Democrat’s second attempt to avoid prison after a decades-long career as one of the most powerful politicians in New York government.
Friday’s verdict came more than two years after his first 2015 trial resulted in a 12-year prison sentence. An appeals court tossed out that conviction, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that changed the legal boundaries for public corruption.
Prosecutors said Silver illegally earned 4 MILLION dollars from a cancer researcher and real estate developers who benefited from his clout in state government.
Assemblyman Brian Kolb released this statement Friday night:
“Another day. Another conviction. And another step back for public trust in government.
Sheldon Silver’s first conviction should have been a wake-up call that rocked Albany to its foundation. It didn’t. Today’s guilty verdict in his re-trial feels more like ‘business as usual’ than any great catalyst for reform.
Governor Cuomo’s closest aide, Joe Percoco, is heading to jail for pay-to-play schemes. Eric Schneiderman stepped down as attorney general amid shocking accusations of domestic violence. More corruption trials are coming. More convictions await. When will it end?
New York State is a national embarrassment for a very simple reason – we have allowed it to happen. Albany operates in the shadows, rewards the biggest donors and politically connected, treats public review like an inconvenience, and promotes a culture that invites self-dealing.
Too few have had too much power for far too long. And that needs to change. Sheldon Silver is guilty of corruption – but there’s plenty of blame to go around.”