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July 27, 2018

At resentencing, former New York Assembly speaker gets (only?) seven years in federal prison for corruption

As reported here by the New York Post, "Sheldon Silver, the disgraced ex-speaker of the New York state Assembly, was sentenced to seven years in prison — less than the 12 years he was sentenced to previously."  Here is the context:

The judge cited the 74-year-old Silver’s advanced age and the substantial monetary penalties she plans to levy, including a $1.75 million fine, in the lower sentence.

Silver was convicted in May — for a second time — of selling his office for $4 million in kickbacks, plus $1 million in profits, tied to two schemes. Before his arrest in 2015, Silver was one of the most powerful men in Albany — along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

At his 2016 sentencing, Judge Valerie Caproni — who sentenced him again this time around — ordered him to serve 12 years in prison and to forfeit nearly $5.2 in ill-gotten gains and another $1.75 million in fines. But Silver never served a day in prison because his 2015 conviction was overturned on appeal amid questions about the validity of the jury instructions, which were raised after the US Supreme Court narrowed the definition of bribery.

Silver’s lawyer Michael Feldberg has said he plans to appeal the second verdict as well, saying the feds once again failed to prove that Silver promised anything in return for the lucrative referrals he received....

During Friday’s sentencing, Caproni blasted Albany’s culture of corruption, noting that recent months have all “touched, directly and indirectly, the ‘three men in a room'” — the derisive term used to describe the governor and top leaders of the Senate and Assembly. “This has to stop,” she said. “New York state has to get its act together and do something institutionally to stop corruption.”

Still, she commended Silver for apologizing for his conduct this time around, which he did not do in 2016. “That was a wise decision on Mr. Silver’s part,” she said. “Mr. Silver’s conduct clearly caused discernible harm.” She also remarked on signs of wear and tear. “I feel like visually he’s aged more than the three years that have gone by chronologically,” she said.

Silver also spoke at the sentencing, saying that he is “extremely, extremely remorseful” for having “brought out a great deal of distrust in NY’s government.”

As noted in prior posts linked below, the original 12-year sentence given to Silver was still way below a calculated guideline range of 20+ years.  And this time around, the feds were asking for a sentence "substantially in excess" of 10 years.  So, Silver probably should feel a bit lucky he did not get an even longer term than seven years.  But even with some likely time off for good behavior, Silver now cannot be making any real retirement plans until 2025. 

Prior related posts:

July 27, 2018 at 05:56 PM | Permalink


This is a childish comment, unnecessary by any metric.

"But even with some likely time off for good behavior, Silver now cannot be making any real retirement plans until 2025. "

Posted by: Steven Harris | Jul 28, 2018 7:35:14 AM

What is "childish" about this comment, Steven Harris?

After saying Silver is somewhat fortunate to have not gotten a longer federal prison term, I wanted to spotlight just how long he will have to serve before being able to get back to what folks in their 70s are usually thinking about. Can you suggest another catchy, but not childish, way to make this point?

Posted by: Doug B | Jul 28, 2018 11:31:01 AM


Huh...and here I am thinking that for many people in their seventies three hots and a cot looks pretty damn good.


Posted by: Daniel | Jul 28, 2018 11:42:52 AM

“Mr. Silver’s conduct clearly caused discernible harm.”

I have asked before. Did the medical research he was bribed to fund, did the construction he was bribed to permit, help people or hurt the public? If he provided a faster detour around the far left NYS obstructions to economic activity, he should get a bonus, not a prison sentence.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 28, 2018 12:37:08 PM

Steven. Orthographic, grammatical, and language style criticisms are considered to be frivolous and impolite in internet debates.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 28, 2018 12:40:08 PM

Hi O Silver away.

Anyway you slice it, hes a gonner.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jul 28, 2018 9:41:27 PM

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