Conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver overturned

Insiders on Silver Sentencing Preet's Probes

Silver's trial happened before the Supreme Court decided the McDonnell case, and jurors were given a broad definition of what "official act" he would have to perform to be guilty of corruption.

Silver's is the first high-profile corruption case affected by McDonnell v. "Silver's defense attorneys argued that this obvious corruption was simply business as usual in Albany, which the Supreme Court confirmed in McDonnell-defying the common sense of two NY juries and honest people everywhere", she said in a statement. Testimony at his trial showed that Silver illegally obtained nearly $4 million in exchange for government actions that benefited two real estate developers and a cancer expert.

"Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied", he added.

In a 54-page decision, the 2nd Circuit explained that that the trial court gave incorrect instructions to the jury as deliberations began during the 2015 prosecution.

Cabranes said this made it unclear beyond a reasonable doubt that Silver would otherwise have been convicted, though "many would view the facts adduced at Silver's trial with distaste". The question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the Government.


Silver's fall from grace was remarkable.

Prosecutors may retry Silver, a 73-year-old Democrat from Manhattan who served more than two decades as Assembly speaker.

Evidence presented at his first trial showed that he received almost $4 million in illicit payments in return for taking official actions that benefited others. "The public does not elect people with the expectation that they will use their office for personal enrichment".

"The evidence was strong", Preet Bharara, the former USA attorney who brought the case, tweeted Thursday. "Sheldon Silver is absolutely guilty of corrupting his office and violating the public trust of 19 million New Yorkers".

When the Supreme Court spared Bob McDonnell from going to prison for a very long time, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed a little troubled by the things prosecutors uncovered during their investigation of the disgraced Virginia governor. Rather, the jury was told that an "official act" is "any action taken or to be taken under color of official authority". That narrower definition was established in a Supreme Court decision handed down after Silver was sentenced. Skelos, a Republican, was convicted in 2015 on extortion, bribery and conspiracy charges.

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