A federal grand jury voted to indict former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today on fraud and extortion charges, the allegations at the center of his arrest last month.
The three-count indictment was handed up in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and included charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion under the color of official right, in connection with alleged bribery and kickback schemes. Two charges for mail fraud conspiracy and extortion conspiracy that were included in the original five-count complaint were excluded from the indictment, though the reason was not immediately clear, the New York Times reported.
The indictment suggests that plea discussions are unlikely at this stage, and moves Silver’s case one step closer to a possible trial, according to the newspaper. Silver will be arraigned on the charges in the coming days.
“We can now begin to fight for his total vindication,” said Silver’s counsel, Joel Cohen and Steven Molo, in a statement. “We will do our fighting where it should be done: in court.” [NYT] — Tess Hofmann