Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s 2015 corruption conviction has reportedly been overturned, causing some joy on his face and the faces of his family and friend. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the 2015 corruption conviction of the politician who is in politics for close to half a century.
After his conviction was overturned, the disgraced politician’s lawyers, Joel Cohen and Steven Molo, while reading from a written statement said, “We’re absolutely delighted with the result, and look forward in the future to a full Silver vindication”.
In the year 2015, the 73-year old Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison for on corruption charges. He had been accused of involvement in kickbacks and bribes.
Silver, who was a professional lawyer, before he entered politics full throttle. He practiced law with the firm of Schecter and Schwartz from 1968 until 1971, and then served as law secretary for New York City Civil Court Judge Francis N. Pecora from 1971 to 1976. Besides being in the New York State Assembly from 1977 to 2015, he was “of counsel” at Weitz & Luxenberg, one of New York State’s largest personal injury litigation firms.
Some 41-years ago in 1976, Silver was elected to the Assembly in 1976 for the first time. He progressed fast and rose to key committee leadership positions. He represented the Assembly District variously numbered as 62nd through 65th, comprising much of Lower Manhattan, notably the Financial District and the former World Trade Center site. During the election years of his speakership, 1994–2014, Silver’s district typically re-elected him with 80 to 90 percent of the vote. On February 11, 1994, after Saul Weprin died from a stroke, Silver became the Speaker of the New York State Assembly. He was re-elected 11 times.
It must be kept in mind that the judges of Second Circuit Court of Appeals actually agreed with Silver’s contention that jury instructions in his trial were erroneous in light of the new decision. The instructions “were in error…We further hold that this error was not harmless because it is not clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have reached the same conclusion if properly instructed…Accordingly, we vacate the District Court’s judgment of conviction on all counts”, the court said. Silver has remained free on bail while fighting his conviction. He was also fined $1.7 million in the case.
Sheldon Silver is married to Rosa, a former special needs schoolteacher. Silver and his wife, together have four adult children. According to court papers unsealed during the sentencing phase of his trial, Silver was alleged to have had two extra-marital affairs, both of which were connected to his Albany position.