Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, Is Found Guilty on All Counts

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A second juror asks to be excused from deliberations in Sheldon Silver corruption trial.

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, formerly one of New York’s most powerful politicians, was convicted Monday of charges that he traded favors to earn $5 million illegally and then lied about it.A jury found the 71-year-old former Assembly Speaker guilty on all seven corruption charges Tuesday, sending a powerful message to politicians in New York’s capital.A juror in the Sheldon Silver case asked Monday to be removed from deliberations after learning the taxi medallion he leases is owned by a “very rich man” with ties to the former state Assembly Speaker.

The Manhattan federal court jury returned the verdict after a three-week trial in which prosecutors claimed that the 71-year-old Democrat repeatedly promised the favors to enrich himself. Silver, 71, a Democrat who served more than two decades as the Assembly speaker before he was forced to resign after his arrest in January, will automatically forfeit the Assembly seat to which he was first elected nearly 40 years ago. The 69-year-old Bronx taxi driver sent Judge Valerie Caproni a note, saying he could no longer serve because of a conflict he learned about over the four-day holiday weekend.

Deliberations began with fireworks when a juror tried to beg off the panel less than two hours after talks started, accusing her fellow jurors of claiming she failed to use her common sense. Two pool reporters also were allowed in the closed-door hearing. “While we were working over the weekend, it came up the medallion that I lease is from a guy that associates with Mr. Attorney Preet Bharara, who slammed Albany as “a cauldron of corruption” when he announced charges against the Lower East Side democrat in January. “Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York,” the U.S. Carponi excused the cabbie from the room at least five times as both sides debated how to inquire about the conflict without learning anything about deliberations, which must remain secret. Shortly after deliberations began last Tuesday, a juror begged in a note to be dropped from deliberations, saying other jurors were bullying her and “making me feel very, very uncomfortable.” Silver, who maintains he did nothing wrong and will be vindicated at trial, stepped down from his post after his January arrest, but he retains his Assembly seat.

Silver, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to be on this case,” the juror told the judge. “I was told [Silver and the medallion owner] hang out in the same synagogue in the past and stuff. At one point when the juror was out of the room, Caproni said, “I am reading this as he is concerned that if there is a conviction, his leased medallion is at risk?” Silver’s trial nearly went off the rails last week when a different juror wanted off the case, complaining she was being picked on by fellow panelists.

Silver is the most prominent of a string of state lawmakers who have been convicted by prosecutors with the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara said that the charges against him made it clear that “the show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated and promoted at the very top of the political food chain.” His conviction comes as Mr.

Robert Taub, who said he steered numerous clients with cancer caused by asbestos to Silver’s law firm, enabling the legislator to pocket $3 million in referral fees. Meanwhile, testimony and evidence revealed, Silver caused $500,000 in taxpayer funds to go to Taub’s research projects and helped his son and daughter get a job and an internship. Prosecutors noted that Silver found other ways to do favors for Taub once the pot of money he’d used to fund the doctor’s research was eliminated through state legislation. Silver maintained a viselike grip on power, withstanding the rare challenge from a well-intentioned but unsupported Democratic colleague, and brushing off all criticism of his performance. In the second scheme Silver, 71, directed two major developers – Glenwood Management and the Witkoff Group – to use the firm Goldberg & Iryami for litigation challenging city tax assessments.

The two were among a group dubbed the “three men in a room” in Albany, a nod to the longstanding practice of legislative leaders and the governor negotiating key bills behind closed doors. Silver was faulted for his handling of two sexual harassment allegations; in 2013, a state ethics report criticized him for covering up accusations of sexual harassment against Assemblyman Vito J.

There were too many complications.” The family’s 18-year-old daughter discovered the horror after returning home from a hunting trip at about 11 a.m., the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s office said in a statement. Silver also loomed large in financial disclosure reports that were required under a new state ethics law, reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in outside income from a law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg.

Silver’s trial, the government presented evidence that prosecutors said showed he had orchestrated two schemes through which he obtained nearly $4 million in illegal payments for taking official actions that benefited a prominent cancer researcher, Dr. Bharara’s office had sought to criminalize the kinds of activity in which state legislators routinely engaged. “They look at conduct which is legal,” one defense lawyer, Steven F. It was by Sheldon Silver for Sheldon Silver.” The speaker used his office to “dispense benefits to people who were paying him in quid pro quo relationship,” Mr.

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