Silver should serve more than 10 years in prison: prosecutors

Sentencing memo seeks punishment greater than those of other convicted state legislators

U.S. prosecutors are recommending that former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver receive a sentence “substantially in excess” of 10 years in prison for his conviction on federal corruption charges late last year.

In a sentencing memo submitted Wednesday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office suggested that the 72-year-old Silver’s punishment “reflect the unprecedented magnitude, duration and scope of his abuse of power,” as well as “the immeasurable damage Silver caused to the democratic process and to the public trust.”

Silver was convicted in November on all seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering that he faced over five weeks of trial last fall. Bharara’s office is recommending a sentence significantly longer than those imposed on other convicted state legislators, according to Politico.

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Prosecutors argued that Silver’s seven convictions warrant between 262 to 327 months (21 years and 10 months to 27 years and three months) of imprisonment under sentencing guidelines. The memo cited “the egregiousness of Silver’s conduct and the need for deterrence” in suggesting a sentence “greater than any sentence imposed on other New York state legislators convicted of public corruption offenses.”

Silver’s case featured a considerable real estate angle, with the former Assembly speaker convicted on charges that he received nearly $4 million in illegal payments from law firms in exchange for diverting tax business from developers Glenwood Management and Witkoff to those firms.

Prosecutors also asked that Silver[TRData] forfeit “all of his crime proceeds,” totaling nearly $5.2 million, and receive a fine of at least $1 million. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 3. [Politico]Rey Mashayekhi