Former NY Assembly Speaker Found Guilty of Corruption
One dirty politician down, possibly more to come.
The jury that found Sheldon Silver, former speaker of the New York Assembly, guilty on all counts of corruption Monday has put the Democrat political machine in the Empire State on notice. The former assemblyman who represented Manhattan used to be one of the most powerful men in New York politics, as he was a member of New York’s “three men in a room.” (The governor and heads of the state’s Senate and Assembly wielded massive amounts of power by meeting in secret together and deciding the direction of New York.) But Silver was found guilty of extortion and fraud, crimes that could land him a 130-year jail sentence. Altogether, Silver abused the public trust and netted $4 million for himself. In one instance, Silver collected a salary from law firm Weitz & Luxenberg through a scheme that involved cancer research. Silver directed state grants to a researcher who was studying a form of cancer caused by asbestos, and that researcher then recommend clients to Weitz & Luxenberg to handle legal claims for which Silver received part of the cut. In a statement about the ruling, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.”
The feds are also prosecuting a second three-men-in-a-room politician, former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. The case against Skelos is stronger, commentator Bob McManus wrote, which could also mean the federal government may decide to topple New York’s top politician — Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The New York Times described Silver as once having “Teflon-like quality in deflecting” investigations into impropriety on his part. These recent events should give another Teflon politician from New York — who just happens to be leading her party’s presidential primary — pause.