Sheldon Silver found guilty, again
Jury in ex-Assembly speaker's re-trial found him guilty of extorting real estate developers and other counts of fraud and money laundering
A jury found Sheldon Silver guilty for the second time on Friday, wrapping up the more than week-long re-trial of the former Assembly speaker on charges he was first convicted for in 2015.
Silver, 74, was found guilty on all seven counts brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, including charges that he extorted developers Glenwood Management and the Witkoff Group by asking them to direct their tax business to law firm Goldberg & Iryami. Both Glenwood and Witkoff testified that at the time they were unaware Silver was receiving a kickback from the fees they were paying the firm.
While the fee agreements were in place, Glenwood and Witkoff were lobbying Silver on real estate matters, including 421a developer tax exemptions, of which Glenwood was one of the largest recipients in the state. Silver supported the renewal of the program and other policies favorable to developers.
Silver was also found guilty on Friday of having earned $3 million off of mesothelioma clients directed to his law firm by Dr. Robert Taub, who then received $500,000 in taxpayer money from Silver to help support his research.
Though previously sentenced to 12 years in prison, Silver appealed his 2015 conviction after a landmark Supreme Court decision changed the definition of what constitutes “official acts” by politicians in corruption cases. He faces a prison sentence of up to 130 years.
In 2017, Glenwood, which was not charged with wrongdoing in the Silver trial, admitted it had violated state lobbying laws in connection to its relationship with both Silver and former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. It paid a $200,000 fine to the state’s Joint Committee on Public Ethics (JCOPE).
Skelos successfully appealed his own conviction last year. His retrial is set for June 18. [NYP] — Will Parker