After two convictions and nearly five years of courtroom battles, former New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is finally going to prison.
Silver, whose 2018 conviction in real estate and money laundering schemes was upheld in January, was sentenced to 78 months in prison on Monday. His lawyers had sought a term of home confinement for their client, citing the risk of contracting coronavirus in prison.
“I do not want Mr. Silver to die in prison, either,” Judge Valerie Caproni of the Federal District Court in Manhattan said, noting various safeguards the prison could take to protect him. “I cannot guarantee that Mr. Silver will not contract Covid in prison, but I also can’t guarantee that he won’t contract Covid if he stays out of prison.”
The disgraced former speaker was initially convicted in 2015 on honest services fraud, money laundering and extortion, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. An appeals court overturned the conviction, but federal prosecutors tried him again in 2018 and he was found guilty a second time.
In January, a federal appeals court upheld a conviction in relation to a scheme that involved developers Witkoff Group and Glenwood Management, while overturning a conviction for Silver’s involvement in a separate kickback scheme with Columbia University cancer researcher Robert Taub.
“Mr. Silver, his time has come,” Judge Caproni said. “He needs to go to jail.” [NYT] — Kevin Sun