Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Corruption

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to seven years in prison at a federal court in New York on Friday. He brokered deals for two decades before corruption charges ended his career.
Mary Altaffer/AP

New York’s former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, once a powerful decision-maker in Albany, was handed a seven-year prison sentence on Friday.

It is the second time that Silver, a 74-year-old Democrat, has been found guilty of taking nearly $4 million in bribes and gaining another $1 million through money laundering.

He was first convicted in November 2015 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. But an appeals court overturned the conviction, citing a Supreme Court decision in 2016 on corruption. Simply setting up a meeting, talking to an official or organizing an event does not constitute corruption, the court determined.

Silver’s attorneys argued in the appeal that the decision meant the jurors received erroneous instructions.

He was convicted in a retrial in May.

In court, Silver’s defense attorneys argued for a shorter prison sentence combined with community service, according to CBS News. He also was reported to have sent U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni a letter pleading for compassion.

“I pray I will not die in prison,” he wrote.

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SOURCE: NPR, Sasha Ingber