(Update – Aug. 3) – The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will not be retried while he appeals his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Second Circuit Court has also recently decided to overturn Sheldon’s conviction on 2015 corruption charges, for which he’d been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The court’s new decision will allow Silver to delay his re-trial, until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to hear his case.
Silver’s attorneys are hoping the Supreme Court will dismiss the case in its totality, in order for Silver to avoid facing a re-trial for the crimes.
“The court recognized the significance of the issues we will be raising in the Supreme Court,” Steven Molo and Joel Cohen, lawyers for Silver, said in a statement. “It put a halt to the trial court proceedings to allow us to do that.”
Silver had been convicted on seven charges of corruption, including accepting over $4 million in bribes and kickbacks, on Nov. 30, 2015, and federal prosecutors have currently vowed to retry the case.
Check back for additional updates.
(From July 17) – A federal appeals court has overturned former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s 2015 conviction for corruption.
Silver, 73, had been convicted on seven charges of corruption, including accepting over $4 million in bribes and kickbacks, on Nov. 30, 2015.
He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crimes.
The appeals court reportedly found the judge’s instructions to the jury in the case had been too broad, and said, had the jury been properly instructed, jurors might not have convicted Silver of the charges.
“We recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver’s trial with distaste,” Judge José A. Cabranes wrote in the three-judge panel’s decision. “The question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the government. Rather, it is whether it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury, properly instructed, would have found Silver guilty.”
However, despite the court’s decision, the panel also found that evidence in the case had been legally sufficient to support a conviction.
As a result, federal prosecutors have said they plan to retry the case.
(From May 3, 2016) – Sheldon Silver, former Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption May 3.
Silver, 72, was convicted on seven charges of corruption, including accepting over $4 million in bribes and kickbacks, on Nov. 30, 2015.
“Today’s stiff sentence is a just and fitting end to Sheldon Silver’s long career of corruption,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the U.S attorney whose office prosecuted the case, stated after the sentencing.
Although Silver’s lawyers pleaded for leniency in the case, Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni said Silver’s actions ended up “corroding trust in government,” and, in addition to the 12-year sentence, Caproni also ordered Silver to repay $5 million in proceeds from his crimes, as well as $1.75 million in fines.
“I hope the sentence I impose on you will make the next politician hesitate before accepting a kickback or bribe,” Caproni stated.
Silver must surrender himself to begin serving the sentence by July 1.
“Without question I’ve let down my family, my colleagues, my constituency,” he said in brief remarks following his sentencing. “I’m truly, truly sorry.”
However, prior to receiving the sentence, Silver said he planned to appeal.
“It’s just the next step,” he said to reporters. “You have to go through this before you can appeal.”
Silver has been among several New York politicians to face corruption and investigation charges recently.
Former Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos will also be sentenced on corruption charges this month, along with his son, Adam.
Prior to his conviction, Silver had served as speaker of the Assembly for over two decades.