Sheldon Silver, a Democrat assemblyman and one of New York State’s most powerful politicians, was found guilty following a federal corruption trial. The case was the “capstone of the government’s efforts to expose the seamy culture of influence peddling in Albany.” The New York Times,
Mr. Silver, 71, a Democrat who served more than two decades as the Assembly speaker before he was forced to resign after his arrest in January, will automatically forfeit the Assembly seat to which he was first elected nearly 40 years ago.
The jury’s verdict came in the fifth week of Mr. Silver’s trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, in which he faced seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering.
Mr. Silver is the most prominent of a string of state lawmakers who have been convicted by prosecutors in the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. At the time of Mr. Silver’s arrest, Mr. Bharara said that his case made it clear that “the show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated and promoted at the very top of the political food chain.”
His conviction comes as Mr. Bharara’s office is trying his former counterpart, State Senator Dean G. Skelos, who stepped down as the Senate majority leader after his arrest in May, on federal corruption charges.
For portions of his 20 years as Assembly speaker, Mr. Silver maintained a viselike grip on power, withstanding the rare challenge from a well-intentioned but unsupported Democratic colleague, and brushing off all criticism of his performance. Mr. Silver has been faulted for how he handled two sexual harassment allegations; in 2013, a state ethics report criticized him for covering up accusations of sexual harassment against Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez.
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