The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Sheldon Silver, effectively ending the disgraced former state Assembly speaker’s path to overturning his 2018 corruption conviction.
The court did not provide a reason for turning down the case, although two justices — Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas — dissented, the New York Times reported.
The move comes a week after it was reported that former President Donald Trump was considering pardoning Silver, whose conviction stemmed from accusations of extorting developers Witkoff Group and Glenwood Management. Ultimately, Trump did not issue a pardon to Silver after the story was leaked and New York state Republicans objected, according to the Times.
Once one of the most powerful men in Albany — and a major player in New York real estate — Silver 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.
His conviction for money laundering and extortion was upheld in January after his lawyers appealed. Earlier this year, lawyers for the 78-year-old argued that he should be allowed to serve his sentence in home confinement because of the risk of contracting Covid-19 in jail. He was ultimately sentenced to 78 months in prison.
“Mr. Silver, his time has come,” Judge Valerie Caproni of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York said at his sentencing. “He needs to go to jail.” [NYT] — Amy Plitt