Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly and one of the state’s most powerful politicians, was convicted Monday in a federal corruption trial that shone a light on the real estate lobby’s dealings in Albany.
Silver, 71, was convicted on all seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering that he faced over five weeks of trial in Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan.
A Democrat who served more than two decades as Assembly speaker before being forced to resign after his arrest in January, Silver will automatically forfeit the Assembly seat that he has held since 1977, according to the New York Times.
The trial saw federal prosecutors present evidence that Silver had obtained nearly $4 million in illegal payments through two schemes he orchestrated – one involving developers Glenwood Management and Steve Witkoff, who diverted tax business to a law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, that secretly shared fees with Silver.
In return, Silver lent support to rent legislation backed by Glenwood and met with the firm’s lobbyists.
Silver is the most prominent in a string of state lawmakers convicted by prosecutors in the office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara’s office is also trying Dean Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York State Senate whose case also involves ties to Glenwood. [NYT] – Rey Mashayekhi