Sheldon Silver, Ex-NYS Assembly Speaker, Gets Corruption Conviction Overturned

Sheldon Silver, Ex-NYS Assembly Speaker, Gets Corruption Conviction Overturned

Sheldon Silver, Ex-NYS Assembly Speaker, Gets Corruption Conviction Overturned

A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned the corruption conviction two years ago of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it could not conclude that a rational jury would have convicted the Democrat if it had been properly instructed on what constitutes an "official act".

But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan also said federal prosecutors had presented "sufficient" evidence to prove the honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering counts on which Silver was convicted in November 2015. The question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the Government.

Along with Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, he was one of the "three men in a room" with effective power to dictate NY legislative priorities.

No matter how bad these facts may have appeared on paper, the Second Circuit ruled as "erroneous" the convictions that resulted from them.

The appeals court said because those jury instructions were wrong based on the McDonnell decision, the powerful NY lawmaker might have been convicted in error. Silver, who is 73, faces 12 years in prison.

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Now, Reice said he's looking at whether the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, will reconsider Taub's case given the ruling on Silver.

Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, said he looks forward to retrying the case.

That language of the 48-page ruling, which includes six pages of appendices, echoes what the Supreme Court's Chief Justice John Roberts said of McDonnell.

The Second Circuit didn't outright acquit Silver, determining "the evidence was enough that a properly instructed jury could have convicted him", Kramer said. In another, Silver stood accused of receiving secret legal fees from another law firm after he referred two real-estate developers to it as clients. He said lawmakers have taken no steps to rein-in their outside income or empower independent prosecutors to go after corruption - even in the wake of the conviction of Silver and ex-Long Island Sen. In fact, they rejected every attempt by Silver's legal team to contest the quality of the dirty deeds prosecutors aired during his five-week trial.

That's more than a technicality and, assuming the appeals court to be correct, the ruling was fair.

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