A federal jury found former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty on all seven charges of corruption Nov. 30.
The charges included his acceptance of $4 million in kickbacks described as “referral fees” from law firms.
Silver, 71, has currently been released on bond, and reportedly faces 170 years in prison for the crimes, although many officials have said they expect the politician to receive a significantly lighter punishment.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara prosecuted the case, after recently vowing to clean up corruption in Albany.
“Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and, at long last, so did the people of New York, ” Bharara said in a statement.
Judge Valerie Caproni is scheduled to set a date for Silver’s upcoming sentencing and surrender.
“I’m disappointed,”Silver said outside the courthouse.
His lawyer, Steven Molo, vowed to appeal the verdicts.
Molo had argued in court that allegations of Silver accepting kickbacks, and laundering money, had merely been instances of politics as usual in Albany.
However, following the verdict, Capitol staff immediately removed Silver’s name from his Assembly office door, and the state website.
Silver’s conviction automatically removes him from his seat in the Assembly, under state law, and will bar him from ever holding any state office.
The current Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie stressed the importance of good ethical conduct in state politics, in a statement released Monday.
“I am deeply saddened by the events that have taken place this year, culminating with today’s conviction of former Speaker Sheldon Silver,” Heastie stated. “We will continue to work to root out corruption, and demand more of elected officials when it comes to ethical conduct. The Assembly majority remains committed to exploring ideas, and implementing reforms, to restore trust in our government.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also called for reform in government following the verdict.
“Today, justice was served,”Cuomo stated. “Corruption was discovered, investigated, and prosecuted, and the jury has spoken. With the allegations proven, it is time for the Legislature to take seriously the need for reform. There will be zero tolerance for the violation of the public trust in New York.”
Silver, a Democrat, stepped down in January amidst pressure from Democrats, after presiding as speaker of the Assembly for over 20 years, and only one year less than the longest term ever held in history.
Bharara also recently filed unrelated corruption charges against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County.
Skelos declined to comment on the verdict in Silver’s trial.