Sheldon Silver convicted in retrial

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Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will go to retrial in April after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his bid to avoid retrial.

When former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had his conviction overturned last year, he hoped the retrial would end differently than his 2015 trial. But Silver received the same verdict last Friday that he had received three years ago: guilty.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed at this point, but I’m confident that the judicial process will play out in my favor,” he said, according to Newsday.

Silver was found guilty on all seven counts of bribery, extortion, money laundering and honest services fraud for a pair of schemes that secured him more than $1 million in kickbacks disguised as legal referral fees.

Among those who paid Silver were a New Hyde Park-based real estate firm, Glenwood Management; a Manhattan developer; and a Manhattan physician, Dr. Robert Taub. These payments were made through a Manhattan law firm where Silver was of counsel over a 10-year period when the Manhattan Democrat was one of the most powerful men in the state.

In exchange for the payments, Silver directed state actions that benefited Dr. Taub and the two luxury real estate developers.

Silver remains free on bail and will be sentenced on July 13, according to The New York Times. In his first trial, Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The jury’s decision drew praise from former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who took to Twitter on Friday to congratulate the prosecution.

“Great work by the SDNY team once again,” he wrote, referring to the Southern District of New York. “All New Yorkers should be grateful.”

Despite expressing his disappointment with the decision, Silver said he was optimistic that he would win another appeal, according to Newsday.

Silver was first elected to the state Assembly in 1973. He was speaker, a position that gave him sway over many major legislative decisions, from 1994 until his arrest in January 2015.

Silver was convicted later in 2015, but that decision was overturned last year following a Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the definition of corruption. While Silver’s lawyers praised the decision, prosecutors said they were confident that they would be able to convict Silver a second time.

“Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied,” said Joon H. Kim, then the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, when the conviction was overturned.

Silver will be followed in court by another Albany power broker who had his conviction overturned: Dean Skelos. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) previously served as the Senate Majority Leader from 2011 to 2015, when he and his son, Adam, were arrested and charged with six counts of corruption.

Dean Skelos and Adam Skelos were accused of using the former’s political power and influence to secure more than $300,000 in payments for Adam from Glenwood Management, Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers in Roslyn and Arizona-based environmental technology firm AbTech Industries.

Like Silver, Dean and Adam Skelos had their convictions overturned following the Supreme Court narrowing the definition of corruption. The Skelos retrial will begin in June.

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