Disgraced Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Convicted on All Corruption Charges

Posted on: December 1st, 2015 at 5:10 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: Daily News

Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, hailing from the Grand Street political block of the Lower East Side, was found guilty yesterday in the ongoing federal corruption trial. The jury convicted the crooked 71-year-old politician on seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion, and money laundering. He’s now forced to forfeit his seat in the Assembly.

Thus caps a high-profile five-week trial, and a disgraceful end to a once-powerful political career. Facing up to 130 years, he’ll likely spend the rest of his life in prison. The first domino has fallen…

The New York Times reports:

In the Silver trial, the government built a case that he had orchestrated two schemes through which he obtained nearly $4 million in illegal payments in return for taking official actions that benefited a prominent cancer researcher, Dr. Robert N. Taub, at Columbia University, and two New York real estate development firms.

Testimony and other evidence showed that Mr. Silver had arranged to have the New York State Health Department make two grants totaling $500,000 to Dr. Taub, whose research focused on mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer related to asbestos exposure.

In return, Dr. Taub sent mesothelioma patients with potentially lucrative legal claims to Mr. Silver’s law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, which then shared a portion of its legal fees with the speaker.

In the other scheme, prosecutors charged, Mr. Silver had the two developers, Glenwood Management and the Witkoff Group, move certain tax business to a law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, which secretly shared its fees with Mr. Silver.

In return, the speaker lent his support to critical rent legislation backed by Glenwood, in particular, and met with its lobbyists.

This image has been archived or removed.

Sheldon Silver’s puppet show, Photo: Art Y.R. Minor

Here are some additional links to story coverage:

“Albany, roiled by Mr. Silver’s arrest in January, now faces a crisis of conscience on whether and how to respond to the conviction of someone who dominated state politics as long as most legislators or anyone in New York’s political orbit can remember.” [Wall Street Journal]

“Silver walked out of court just before 6 p.m. He only said that he was disappointed, and that he will fight the verdict on appeal with his attorneys.” [CBS Local]

“Silver’s successor, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, said efforts at cleaning up Albany were already underway.” [The Daily News]

“His absence from the Assembly — and the fear his conviction might cause — could lead to some big changes in Albany.” [New York Magazine]

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